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As one who was closely associated with the late 
Mr. Sparrow in his literary work and had the 
honour of his personal friendship, I have been 
asked by his daughter, Miss Edith Sparrow, to 
revise these sheets for the press : a task which I 
have gladly undertaken. Mr. Sparrow took the 
keenest possible interest in this ** History", and 
devoted much time and skill to its details ; and I 
have tried to make my own small share of the 
work worthy of my dear friend. 

Ernest A. Ebble white. 

August 13M, 1898. 


This little book has been written at intervals of 
leisure during a busy life, and I am quite aware 
how very incomplete it is, in every way, especially 
as to the early history of Preen ; but I have done 
my best to be accurate, and to secure this I have 
made many searches in the Record Office, the 
British Museum, the Bodleian, the Diocesan Records 
of Hereford, the Hundred Rolls of Edward /, 
and other available sources of information. But, 
above all, I owe most to Evton, especially as to 
the early history of Preen, and I cannot help 
expressing my sense of the herculean labour he 
undertook when he commenced to write The An- 
tiquities of Shropshire, a work that must always 
stand by itself among the records of the county. 

I must thank Professor Earle for his most in- 
teresting letters as to the derivation of the name of 
" Preen", and my acknowledgments are due also to 
Professor Rhys. The illustrations are chiefly re- 
produced from drawings and photographs, which I 
owe principally to the kindness of my niece, Miss 

vi Preface, 

F. J. Fowke, and my daughter ; but I must not 
forget to thank Miss Beddoes, of Hereford, for her 
most interesting drawing of Preen Church, which 
has enabled me to show the Church as it was 
before restoration. I am also indebted to Miss 
Ecroyd, of Credcnhill, for a most charming drawing 
showing the east end of the Church. 

Lastly, I must thank my friend Mr. Ernest A. 
Ebblewhite, F.S.A., for his invaluable assistance. 

Arthur Sparrow. 

Preen Manor, Shrewsbury, 
January i$f/i, 1898. 




in iNemonam 



2i5t January^ i8g8. 
Aged 7z. 


*' ^» -* 


1. East End of Church Preen Church, before old house was 

pulled down. Mrs. Stackhouse Acton Cover 

2. The Author's " Ex Libris", 1895. Harry Soane xi 

3. Map of the District, reduced from the Ordnance Map facing p, i 

4. Preen Manor House ; North-East View. R. Norman 

Shaw, R.A. .... facing p. 16 

5. Old Manor House, Preen ; pulled down in 1870 (from an 

Old Drawing) .... facing p, 24 

6. Old Manor House, Preen. — Suggested Restoration. W. D. 

Griffin ..... f^^^gP* 32 


7. Old Manor House, Preen. — Pulled down in 1870 (from a 

Photograph) .... facing p. 40 

8. Preen Manor House. — View of South Angle. Edith 

Sparrow ..... facing p, 56 

9. Preen Manor House. — The Terrace Garden (from a Photo- 

. graph) ..... facing p, 64 

ID. Preen Manor House. — View from the Terrace. Edith 

Sparrow ..... facing p. 72 


List of Illustrations. 

1 1. Church Preen Church prior to its Restoration (from a Sketch 

in the possession of Miss C. M. Beddoes) . facing p. 88 

12. Church Preen Church— East End. MiSS E. M. Ecroyd. 

facing p, 104 

1.3. Church Preen Bells : Inscriptions.--^!. Pre- Reformation ; 

II. Modem ..... facin/^ p. 112 

14. The Preen Yew (from a Photograph)' . . facing p. 120 



r- _•.- *- " 




Various derivations have been applied to 

the name of Preen or Prene. 
In the Blakewc^ MSS,^ now in the Bodleian, Blakeway 
says Prene probably received its name from being a place 
where the Gospel was preached in very early times, from 
the Saxon pregan^ to preach ; and Egbert Pren, King of 
Kent, was so called from having been a preacher. No 
doubt the fact of Preen having been the site of an early 
Christian church is in favour of this solution, but Professor 
Rhys says the Anglo-Saxon vfordpr/ony which would now 
be pronounced exactly " preen", means " a pin or brooch", 
so that I think we can hardly accept Mr. Blakeway's view. 
The Rev. John Earle, LL.D., of Oxford, the well-known 
Anglo-Saxon scholar and Professor, from whom I have 
received many interesting letters upon the subject, says 
that he has come to the conclusion that the name Preen is 
the extant relic of a phrase which once ran in the Anglo- 
Saxon of the tenth century aet thcere pirian, " at the pear- 


The History of Church Preen. 

tree", or, rather, " at the pear", for the last word only has 
survived, and has become Preen ; the word " tree" not being 
at all represented in the phrase. 

I called Professor Earle's attention to the fact that neither 
the pear-tree npr the apple-tree could be said to flourish 
in the neighbourhood of Preen, but he thought that this 
fact made in his favour, as that it is not where pear-trees 
abound that " pear" is likely to have grown into a local 
name. Dr. Earle went on to say it is true that pren in 
Welsh means " tree" and " timber", but it could hardly have 
grown into the form of Preen ; had this been possible, it 
would not have escaped Professor Rhys. 

^ ^ , A castle, that Mr. W. H. St. John Hope, M.A., 

thinks may have been a mediaeval one, appears 
to have existed at Church Preen ; for on the high ground 
commanding the Apedale Valley, we have a field called 
'' the Castle-yard", and below it another level field called 
"the Butts", and there are many indications to show that 
some kind of building, probably a castle, existed on this 
site; even if "the Butts" below, where, doubtless, the 
archers practised, had not given us corroborative evidence. 

" The Castle-yard " looks right across the Apedale Valley 
to Wenlock Edge, on the other side of which, with still 
another intervening valley, is Mogg Forest, with its well- 
known British encampment called " the Ditches". 

Doubtless the Preen Castle was placed, like this British 
encampment, in the securest place for its own safety and 
for the protection of the adjoining country. I cannot find 
any allusion whatever in any records to its existence, and 

The History of Church Preen, 

it is quite impossible to hazard an opinion as to the date 
of its foundation ; but probably it must have been in 
existence much earlier than the time of the Civil War 
and at that time had fallen into decay, or otherwise we 
should have met with some allusion to it. I think the 
Castle may have been — and probably was — founded by 
one of the Lords of Holgate, to whom the suzerainty 
of Preen belonged, and that it was originally built to 
protect their Manor from marauders. The Castle must 
have been of considerable extent, judging from the 
nature of the ground, and, on one side, was strongly 
protected by a deep ravine. Indeed, it was placed in 
the strongest position that could be found in. the neigh- 

Were it possible to see the Parish of Preen, 
^^^ as it appeared at different periods in the years 

long passed, we should see it under many and 
varied aspects. In the time of the early Britons, situated, 
as it is, almost in the heart of the country of the Silures, it 
was doubtless overrun by that ancient people in their last 
struggles for independence against the might of Rome. 
And it is probable that Caractacus and his army have 
often marched over the lands of Preen, for it must not 
be forgotten that Caradoc, one of the places where tradi- 
tion says, most probably incorrectly, that he made his last 
stand, and where he formed his camp, is within four miles 
of Preen. The Romans, too, have left abundant traces. 
The well-known " Devil's Causeway" is within a mile, and 
this passes over a bridge which bears every mark of having 

The History of Church Preen. 

been built by themselves.^ There are two or more wells 
(one by the side of the causeway and the other at Holt 
Preen, under a venerable oak), to this day called *' Roman 
Wells", and at Preen itself a Roman tear-bottle was found, 
of the more familiar type. What the aspect of the country 
was in the early days it is difficult to tell ; but we may 
imagine it more or less covered with wood, bounded for 
miles by the Long Forest, stretching far across Wenlock 
Edge. Oaks, yews, and hollies still abound, and we may 
well believe that, under the shade of some of the mighty 
yews which still remain in the district, the Druids per- 
formed their religious rites. In Preen churchyard there is 
a yew whose gigantic size^ carries us far back to the past, 
and it may have been the presence of Druidical worship 
on this spot that caused it to be selected as the site of a 
Christian church. 

During the Roman and Saxon occupation we know 
little or nothing of the history of Preen, but the earliest 
Saxon owner whose name we do know was Edwin, 
Earl of Mercia, grandson of Leofric, who in 1071 forfeited 
his possessions to William the Conqueror. 

The following most interesting deed, dated A.D. 963, is 
taken from a twelfth-century Chartulary in the British 

It is a grant by the Saxon King Eadgar to his thegn 
Wulfric, of lands at Plaish and Aston. 

^ It is remarkable to notice the great similarity between the forma- 
tion of this Causeway and the streets in Pompeii, and in both cases 
huge stones are laid ; these stones show where the traffic has cut 
grooves. * See p. 1 19. 

The History of Church Preen, 

Her his Eastunes boc •] Plesces. 

Regnante r^e regum qui in tribus personis suae sanctac 
Divinitatis consistit qui angelos necnon et anenias coelum 
terramque sine materia creavit • Quapropter ego Eadgar 
rex tocius Brittaniae Christi favente gratia sublimatus ad 
culmina . pro expiatione animae m^s§ . dono et libenter 
concedo . pulfrice , michi dilecto ministro . quandam telluris 
particulam . pro suo placabili servitio et humili obedientia . 
hoc est . VI . mansas in provincia procensetna . in duobus 
locis quae sic vocitantur . Plesc . et Eastun . ut habeat sine 
ulla contradictione omni tempore et jure hereditario possi- 
^ deat . Et quicquid exinde facere voluerit liberam in omnibus 
potestatem habeat faciendl 

Sunt autem h^cpredicte rure circumcincte istis terminis. 

iErest on diupuces paej^e on lil saetna ge maere And lang 
brocaes on eotan ford of eotan forda on ]K)ne gretan air . of 
]?am aire on iSone micclan d^c . of )?am dice on \dL haran dene . 
of ]^re haran dene in }K)ne deopan m6r and lang midles J^aes 
mores in aeslicaes ford . 6l aeslices forda . and lang mores on 
hina ge maera . of hina ge maero on \2l )?res dicas . of ]7am 
dican in )?aene longan ]K)rn . of |7am ]?ome in )^aes dices gedt 
6f )?aes dices gedte on ]7a bradan raene . of J'aere bradan raere 
on maersic 61 maersice on maer die . and lang maerdices on 
piggerdes treo . of piggerdes treo J^aet aeft on diopuces pe|7 . 

Daez aefter synt |?a land ge maero to plesc . iErest 6f 
plaesc in J'one br6c . 6f )?am brocae in ]7aei bricge . 61 \^ 
bricge to )^aere heh straete . of J^aere heh straete to strea^ 

* Strea Vyllan =» " straw well", probably referring to the " Roman 
WelP under the big oak tree at the Holt. 

The History of Church Preen. 

pyllan . of strea pellan to ]>ain litlan dice . 6f )?am dice to 
hare dxne . of hare dene X.6 \isti stin hifete^ . of \zxn stan 
hifete upp . to |?am he)?e of )?am £e)^e to |?am sice and lang 
sices to maene lege . of maene lege to )>am broce . of )>am 
brocae )?aet aeft in plesc. 

Sit etiam hoc meae concessionis donum liberum ab omni 
aggravatione secularis servitff . et ab omni censu preter 
expeditionis profectione . pontisque constructione et arcis 
munitione . Si quis vero hoc m^86 donationis munimen 
frangere voluerit sciat se reum omni hora vitae suae . nisi 
prius cum satisfactione pleniter emendaverit . Qui autem 
conservare voluerit amplificet deus bona ipsius in hoc seculo 
et in futuro. 

Acta est autem haec donatio . Anno dominicae incarna- 
tionis . DCCCC . LXIIl'' . Indictione yero . vi° . anno . vil° . 
regni mei . Hff testes aderant qui hoc consenserunt et sub- 
scripserunt et cum signo sanctae crucis Christi firmaverunt 
et corroboraverunt . 

Ego Eadgar Rex Anglorum et scribere jussi et cum 
triumphali vexillo sanctae crucis Christi firmavi 
et corroboravi . 

Ego Dunstan Archiepiscopus hanc donationem con- 
sens^ et subscripsi . 

Ego Oscytel Archiepiscopus cum sigillo sanctae crucis 
consensl ^ subscripsi . 

Ego Kynestge episcopus consensi •] subscripsi . 

^ Stdn hifete = " stone heap", which possibly indicates the rough 
ground adjoining what is now known as " the Dry Rough'*, for the 
Utter has evidently been a quarry. 


The History of Church Preen, 

Ego Ospald episcopus consensi ^ subscripsi . 
Ego pulfric episcopus consensi ^ subscripsi . 
Ego Byrhtelm episcopus consensi ^ subscripsi . 
Ego iElfhaere Dux . 
Ego iElflish Dux . 

Ego iEj^elstan Dux . Ego pulfhelm minister . 

Ego iE]?elmund Dux . Ego E]?elsige minister. 
Ego ByrhtndS Dux . Ego ^aerstan minister . 

Ego iE)^lpine Dux . Ego Pulfric minister . 

Ego i£Ifpine minister . Ego iE)^Im minister . 

British Museum, Additional MS. 15,350, f. 73 b. 


Here is the Charter of Eastun and Plesc — The King of 
Kings reigning who in the three persons of his sacred 
Godhead subsisted!, who created the angels, souls, heaven 
and the earth, without matter. Wherefore, I, Eadgar, King 
of all Britain, having been raised on high by the favouring 
grace of Christ, do, for the satisfaction of my soul, give and 
freely grant to Wulfric, my beloved Thegn, a certain parcel 
of land, for his peaceable service and humble obedience, 
that is, six hides in the province of Wrocen-setters in two 
places which are thus called, " Plesc** and " Eastun", that 
he may hold the same, without any contradiction for all 
time, and may possess it by hereditary right. And that 
whatsoever he may wish to do with the same, he may have 
full power to do. Now these aforesaid lands are surrounded 
by the following boundaries : — First from Diowuc's path to 
the boundaries of the Lil-setters, and along the brook to 

8 The History of Church Preen. 

Eotan ford ; from Eotan ford to the great alder ; from the 
alder to the great dyke ; from the dyke to the gray dene ; 
from the gray dene to the deep moor, and along the middle 
of the moor to iCslic's ford ; from iSslic's ford and along 
the moor to the boundary of the same ; from the boundar>' 
to the three dykes ; from the dyke to the long thorn ; 
from the thorn to the dyke's gate ; from the dyke's gate to 
the broad runnel ; from the broad runnel to the great 
furrow ; from the great furrow to the great dyke, and along 
the great dyke to Wiggerd's tree; from Wiggerd's tree 
then again to Diowuc's path. 

Hereafter are the land boundaries to Plesc : — First from 
Plesc to the brook ; from the brook to the wooden bridge ; 
from the wooden bridge to the High Street ; from the 
High Street to Straw Well ; from Straw Well to the little 
dyke ; from the dyke to the gray dene ; from the gray 
dene to the stone heap ; from the stone heap up to the 
heath ; from the heath to the runnel, and along the runnel 
to the common lea ;- from the common lea to the brook ; 
from the brook then again into Plesc. 

Moreover, may this gift of my grant be free from all 
aggravation of secular service, and from all tax, except 
setting out of expedition, and building of bridge, and forti- 
fication of stronghold. But if any one willeth to break the 
force of my g^ant, let him know that he shall be guilty 
every hour of his life, except he first fully make good the 
same with satisfaction. But he who may be willing to 
preserve it, may God increase his benefits in this life and in 
the life to come. This grant was made in the year of our 
Lord's Incarnation 963, in the Indiction vi, and in the 

714^ History of Church Preen. 

seventh year of my reign. These witnesses were present, 
whp consented and subscribed to it, and with the sign of 
the Holy Cross confirmed and corroborated it 

I, Eadgar, King of the Angles, both ordered it to be 
written, and with the triumphal banner of the 
Holy Cross confirmed and corroborated it. 

I, Dunstan, Archbishop, consented and subscribed to 
this grant. 

I, Oscytel, Archbishop, with the seal of the Holy Cross, 
consented and subscribed. 

I, Kynesige, Bishop, consented and subscribed. 

I, Oswald, Bishop, consented and subscribed. 

I, Wulfric, Bishop, consented and subscribed. 

I, Byrhtelm, Bishop, consented and subscribed. 

I, iElfhaere, Duke. I, iElfwine, Thegn. 

I, iElfheah, Duke. I, Wulfhelm, Thegn. 

I, iEthelstan, Duke. I, Ethelsige, Thegn. 

I, iEthelmund, Duke. I, Waerstan, Thegn. 

I, Byrhtnodh, Duke. I, Wulfric, Thegn. 

I, iEthelwine, Duke. I, ^Ethelm, Thegn. 

In Cartularium Saxonicum^ by Walter de Gray Birch, 
F.S.A., 1889, vol. iii, p. 355, it is stated that "Plesc" and 
" Eastun" in the Province of the Wrocensetters, are 
intended for Plaish near Cardington, and Aston near 
Lilleshall, in the Wrekin district of Shropshire. 

I think Dr. Birch is wrong in fixing " Aston near 
Lilleshall" as the place meant in the Charter. More 
probably it was Aston, one of the townships in Munslow 
parish, and at one time the caput, of which Munslow was 


lo The History of Church Preen. 

then a member ; see Eyton (under " Munslow"). This Aston 
is within five or six miles of Plaish, and it is far more 
likely to have been held by the same Thegn as Plaish than 
the other Aston, twenty miles away. 

It is, perhaps, rather unsafe to conclude from the words 
** fortification of stronghold" in the Charter, that any 
fortification actually existed at that time. Assuming, 
however, that such was the case, the fortress was probably 
on the site which was reserved for the castle to which 
reference is suggested on page 2. 

At the time of Domesday, Roger de Mont- 
Manonal gomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, was the suzerain 
of Preen, under William the Conqueror ; and 
Helgot de Stanton, a Norman, held it under the Earl. 
Helgot also held Stanton (afterwards Holgate), Belswardine, 
Harley, and several other manors under the Earl. He 
founded Castle "Holgate in the upper Valley of the Corve. 
This was one of the earliest of the Shropshire castles. 
From Helgot the barony of Holgate devplved, through 
his son Herbert Fitz Helgot, and his grandson Herbert 
de Castello, to Richard de la Mare, who himself or his 
wife was a descendant of Helgot de Stanton ; then to 
Robert de la Mare, the son, and Agnes, the granddaughter, 
who married Robert Mauduit, father of Thomas and grand- 
father of William Mauduit, who succeeded in June 1244 
{Eyton, vol. iv. 52, et seq.). 

This William, about 1258, alienated Castle Holgate and 
all his Shropshire barony to Richard Plantagenet, Earl of 
Cornwall, brother of Henry HI, and known as "King of 

The History of Church Preen^ 


Almagne", or " King of the Romans". The latter who, 
however, remained suzerain, forthwith conveyed his acqui- 
sition to the Order of Knights Templars, who at the time 
had a house at Lidley Hays (in Cardington parish), and 
which place had been granted to the Templars by Herbert 
Fitz Helgot sometime between 1155 and 1160 (JEyton^ 
iv, 66 and 67). From Eyton I also extract the following 
pedigree : — 



Helgot de Stanton, Founder of Castle Holgate.== 

Living 1085-6. 

Muneldis,=pi. Herbert fitz- 



1 127. 




3. Wydo fitz Helgot. 

of Quat and 

Dowles. Occurs 

inter 1 1 2 1 -7 obiit s, p. 

2. . . . fitz Hel- 
got, of Quat 
and Bobbing- 

Richard de la Mare,=Emma,dau. and sole: 
who himself or whose heir of Reginald 
wife was a descendant de Pulverbatch. 
of Helgot. Occurs Superstes 1190. 

anU 1 172. 

Def'' iig^ s.p.s. 

:2. Herbert de Cas- 

tello. Occurs 

before 1 1 27. Odiit 

circa iiSgyS,p.s. 

I. Eutropius. Oc- 
curs infer 
Od. s, p. s. 


3. Nicholas de Cas- 
tello. Occurs in- 
ter 1121-1127. 
Living 1 1 56. 
Od. J. p, s. 

Robert de la Mare. Occurs==Aliza. 

before 1 172. Died at Be- 
ne vento area 1 1 93. | 


Philip fitz Helgot. Occurs=p 
1 1 65. Odiii 12 13. * i 



The History of Church Preen. 


1st husband, Robert Mau-== Agnes de la Mare. =2nd husband^ Ralph 
duit, of Warminster. Oc- Defuncta 1199. de Ardeme. 

curs 1 180. Living 11 90. Living 1197. 

Obiit 1 191. 

Agnes. =1. 

Thomas Mauduit, of 
Castle Holgate and 
Warminster. Infra 
atatem 1202. Plene 
atatis 1204. Ohiit 

Robert Mauduit. 
Occurs 12 10- 

3. William 

I. Robert Mauduit 
Def* 1244, 

2. Thomas Mauduit. 
Defunctus 1244, 
s, p. s. 

3. William Mauduit. =p 
Succeeded June 

Occurs 1257. 

Mauduit or Warminster. 

The interest of the Templars in HoI^ate ceased in 1284, 
for the Feodary of this year shows that Robert Burnel, 
Bishop of Bath and Wells, had become possessed of it 
either by purchase or otherwise. The forfeiture of the 
English Templars took place in 1308, and their possessions 
by an edict of Pope Clement were conveyed to the Knights 
Hospitallers ; but Eyton says it is clear many of the 
Templars' estates reverted in the first instance to the heirs 
of the original donors, and this seems to have been the 
case in reference to Castle Holgate : for in 1284 Robert 
Bumel held the manor under Edmund, Earl of Cornwall 
(son of Richard), by service of three knights' fees, the Earl 
holding of the King. At the time, however, of the Bishop's 
death in 1292, the Earl of Cornwall's mediate interest had 

The History of Church Preen. 1 3 

been done away with and the Bishop held directly from 
the Crown. From the Bishop, Holgate passed to his 
nephew and heir Philip, who died in 1294, and was suc- 
ceeded by his son Edward, who died in 13 15. 

The Lords of Holgate maintained a seigneurial interest 
in Preen in the thirteenth century. In 1255 the Condover 
Hundred Roll reports that " the Prior of Wenloc holds 
Preene Magna of the fief of Sir William Mauduit for two 

According to the Hundred Rolls of the Special Com- 
missioners of King Edward I, the withdrawal of Great 
and Little Preen from the Greater Hundred Court 
(Condover) to Castle Holgate was the act of Earl Richard 
King of Almagne. The entry is as follows^ : — 

" Com* Salop\ 

'' Inquisitiones factae coram Justiciariis itin' antib} in Com' 
Salop' a- r' R' Hen' fil' R' Joh'is xxxix** de jurib) & lib' 
tatib} & aliis p'm Rege contingentib}. 

" Hundr' de Conedove'. 

" Magn* Prene & Parv' Prene debuit sect' ad 

mag* hundred & subst' ct'sut p' eund' Ric' Comite R^e 
Almannie ad Cast"" de Holgod & Ma'g'r' Milicie Templi 
cotinet sect' ut invenit nesciut a q'* te'pe n" quo warento." 

* In reference to this entry, a correspondent of Notes and Queries 
(First Series, vol. x, p. 347) raised the question as to whether it 
referred to the parish of Church Preen, but this was before Eyton's 
work was completed. 

1 4 The History of Church Preen. 

A writ of Edward I, dated April 6th, 1301, states that 
Henry, Prior of Wenlock, had presented his fellow monk. 
Brother Roger, of Little Hereford, to the custody of the 
Cell of Preen, vacant by resignation of Brother Richard de 
Wystanstowe ; and that such presentment had been made 
to the King as guardian of the infant heir of Philip Bumel, 
inasmuch as the Prior's predecessor had been always wont 
to present the custodes of Preen to the Lords of Holgate, 
and that then the said presenter was accustomed to receive 
the temporalities at the hands of the said Lord, etc. 

Let us now examine the account of the manor given in 
Domesday, " The same Helgot holds Preen and Richard 
holds it of him. Edwii} held it (in Saxon times) and was a 
free man. Here are three hides geldable. The arable land 
is (sufficient) for three ox -teams. In demesne there is one 
ox-team and four serfs. Of this land Godebold holds one 
hide and thereon he has one ox-team, one serf, one villain, 
and one boor, with a team. The wood here (will fatten) 
one hundred swine. In King Edward's time the manor 
was worth twenty shillings per annum : now it is worth ten 
shillings. He (Helgot) found it waste". Eyton says that 
by this we must understand that Richard held two hides, 
and Godebold one hide in Preen. The two hides were 
afterwards known as Great or Church Preen and the one 
hide as Preen Girros, Holt Preen, or Little Preen. 

Church Preen. — Eyton suggests that the Richard above-« 
mentioned was identical with Richard de Belmeis, who 
became Viceroy of Shropshire and Bishop of London. 
He died in 1 1 27, and was buried in Saint Osyth's Priory 
(in London Diocese), co. Essex (vol. ii, 200). If so, Eyton 

The History of Church Preen. 1 5 

thinks there is a strong probability that Belmeis or his 
heirs granted his or their interest in Great Preen to 
Wenlock Priory, as the Viceroy was known to have had a 
special favour for that house. 

Eyton says the distance of this manor from Wenlock 
seems to have occasioned the foundation of a cell at 
Preen,^ but of the date of that foundation we are as 
ignorant as of the period when the monks obtained the 
estate ; but it is clear that a cell existed earlier than 1 244, 
as in that year Robert de Girros (the second) remitted all 
right which he had in a moiety of the advowson of the 
cell of Preen. In 1250, the Prior df Wenlock was fined a 
large sum for assarts in forest lands without license, and 
among the places named is Preen. 

As Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, refounded Wenlock Priory 
some time between 107 1 and 1086, and Richard de Belmeis 
died in 1 127, 1 think that it is very probable that the Prior 
of Wenlock obtained Preen and founded Preen Priory 
within the first fifty years after Earl Roger's foundation 
of Wenlock. It does not, however, follow that a church 
did not exist a:t Preen previous to the foundation of the 
Priory ; on the contrary, the presumption is that there did. 
Mr. St John Hope says we may be always sure that 
where we find a church of the thirteenth century, a Saxon 
church was previously in existence. 

Eyton says the extent of the possessions of the Church 
of St Milburgh in the Confessor's reign (1042- 1066), can be 
accurately determined from Domesday^ and Preen does not 

^ But this applied far more strongly to other manors belonging to 
the Abbey, and at a much greater distance. 

1 6 The History of Church Preen. 

appear among them, neither was it included at the time 
of Domesday f 1080. 

Holt Preen, — ^This manor, consisting of one hide geld- 
able, was held under Helgot by Godebold, who was a priest 
and one of the three wise clerks named by Ordericus as 
" Earl Roger's companions and advisers" (see Eyton^ vol. i, 
1 10). His successor in ecclesiastkal preferment, after his 
son Robert, was Richard de Belmeis. Eyton thinks that 
Godebold's temporal heir was a member of the family of 
de Girros, who were largely enfeoffed in the Barony of 

In 1 194, the Escheat Roll includes a sum of sixteen 
shillings as half a y^^t's feorm of Robert de Girros's estate 
at Preen. Robert de Girros "the second", between 121 5 
and 1235, made a grant in Preen to Haughmond Abbey 
of all the land which Adam de Gyros held of the grantor 
in Preen, with the services of the said Adam and his 
heirs, viz., seventeen shillings per annum. The grant 
reserves to Adam all his rights as tenant, and reserves to 
grantor all those easements in the Bosc of Preen which he 
retained when he enfeoffed the said Adam. The canons 
are to pay out of the said rent five shillings yearly to the 
Chapel of St. Michael in Shrewsbury Castle, in lieu of the 
grantor, who was liable for the same. In 1232, Peter 
Cementarius and Matilda his wife acknowledge their gift 
of a carucate in " Holprene" to Brother Robert, Master of the 
Templars in England. This, Eyton says, is the first 
indication of the Knights Templars getting a footing in 
Holt Preen ; the Master and his successors were to hold 
the premises of the chief lords of the fee for ever. The 



!, I 

The History of Church Preen. 1 7 

Hundred RoU oi^ 1255 makes Little " Prune" (Preen) to be 
one hide (its Domesday measurement), but it seems that 
the Wenlock monks, who were called "the Monks of 
Prune", had added a third of Little Preen to their other 
estate at Great Preen. 

The remaining two-thirds (probably including the 
Haughmond portion) were held by Henry Girrhos. The 
manor did not do any suit to county or hundred, the 
seigneury of William Mauduit, of Castle Holgate, being 
still existent 

Soon after 1262, " Henry le Gyros" sells to Roger 
Sprenghose, Lord of Longenolre (Longnor), all the tene- 
ment which he had in Holt Preen,^ with all homages, 
services and appurtenances {Eytony vi, 226). 

Connected with the forfeiture of the Templars, I came 
across an important entry in the Dodsworth MS,y 35, fo. 75 
(Rot 54). The following are two translated extracts : — 

"Account of Richard de Harley concerning the out- 
goings of the manors of Lydeley, Longestaunton and 
Holprene" {Holt Preen) ; " t(^ether with the church of 
Cardington in the county of Salop, and of the manor of 
Keel in the county of Stafford, which formerly belonged 
to the Templars, from Dec. 8th in the fifth year of 
Edw. II to Michaelmas in the seventh year of the same 

^ Tliis was possibly a field called "Seven Days Math", which, 
although entirely surrounded by Holt Preen, is in Plaish township, and, 
until I bought it from Mr. Hunt, was included in the Plaish estate. 
Perhaps, also, this was the messuage granted by John Borgh, of Holt 
Preen, to Roger Sprenghose, by deed of 17 Edward II (Hardwick's 
Extracts from the Muniments at Apley^ 1814}. 


1 8 The History of Church Preen. 

King, and from the same feast of St Michael to the 8th 
day of January next following, namely, the last three- 
quarters of the 5th year, the whole of the sixth, and the 
first quarter of the 7th year, before he might free the said 
manors and the aforesaid church, together with the com 
sown in the land and the ornaments of the aforesaid 
church, to Brother Henry de Braybroke, attorney of 
Brother the Abbot of Schwarzenberg, Grand Preceptor 
of the House of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, 
locum tenens on this side the Mediterranean Sea for the 
Grand Master of the same Hospital, and Leonard de 
Tyburlis, Prior of Poissons, Procurator-general of the 
aforesaid Hospital, in the name of the same Hospital, by 
the King's writ dated at Westminster, November i8th, in 
the 7th year" [of his reign]. 

• •••••• 

"The same accounts for rent paid to the Abbot of 
Haghemon {Haughmond)^ for certain tenements in Holt- 
prene in the said manor, which are held of the same 
Abbot; ... 17s at the Annunciation and Michaelmas." 

The seigneury of Holt Preen remained with Edward 
Burnell as Lord of Holgate, but the principal tenant interest 
went like other estates of the Templars to the Knights 
Hospitallers,^ as the latter order in 1338 were receiving a 
total income from Preen ol £j &. iirf., chargeable with 

* "Templars' Roll, 5 Edw. II, Rio* de Harleg also accounts for 
375. yi, ob, \ rent of assize of the free tenants and customers of Holt 
Prene at Lady Day and Michaelmas ; also for rent paid to the Abbot 
of Haghmon for certain lands in Holt Prene in y^ said manor holden 
of y« said Abbot" {Blakeway MSS,). 


The History of Church Preen. 1 9 

stipends paid to a bailiff and other officers, and a pension 
to Haughmond Abbey. This must refer to their interest 
as under-tenants, as Henry le Gyros had sold all his 
interest as mesne tenant under the Burnells to Roger 
Sprenghose in 1262, and the previous interest of the 
Templars in 1232 was only one carucate of land. 

The descendant of Edward Burnell, Sir* Nicholas Burnell, 
Knight, died in the year 1371 ; and in the Feodary then 
drawn up, Holt Preen is given as a member of Holgate. 
The following is a translation of the entry {Alien Priories^ 
Q.R. No. ^) :— 

" Extent of the temporalities and lands and tenements 
of the- Priory of Wenloke, in the County of Salop, made at 
Shrewsbury before William Banastre of Yorton, Escheator 
of the lord the King in the county of Salop, the 12th day 
of March, in the 44th year of the reign of King Edward, 

the third after the Conquest Also they (the 

Jurors) say that there is a certain Priory of Preene in the 
same county, which is a cell of the said Priory of Wenloke, 
and it is of the foundation of the ancestors of Nicholas 
Bumel, Chivaler, to the intent that the Prior of Wenloke 
shall present three monks of his house of Wenloke to the 
aforesaid Nicholas Burnel, and the same Nicholas shall 
choose one monk of those three monks, and he who is 
chosen by the said Nicholas shall be Prior of the said 
Priory of Preene. In which Priory of Preene there arc 
divers houses which are worth nothing per annum beyond 
reprises. And there is there one carucate of land which is 
worth ten shillings per annum. And there is there of rent 
of assize of the free tenants ten marks per annum, payable 

20 The History of Church Preen. 

at the Terms of Saint Michael and the Annunciation of 
the Blessed Mary by equal portions". 

In 1377 Roger Hord and William de Merton, acting as 
trustees, granted to Fulk Sprenghose, Margaret his wife, 
and the heirs of Fulk and Margaret, the Manor of Plesch 
{Plaisk)^ etc., and also all lands, rents, etc. of their tenants 
at Holt Preen {Eytotiy ii, 354), clearly proving that forty 
years after 1338, the family of Sprenghose retained an 
interest in Holt Preen. Eyton, however, goes on to say, 
in reference to the Haughmond fee, that Adam de Girros 
or his heirs seem to have conveyed their estate to the 
Templars of Lydley, who accordingly remained liable for 
the seventeen shillings rent due from the said Adam to 
Haughmond Abbey ; and in 1338 a pension was still paid 
by the Knights Hospitallers for the Templar Estate at 
Preen, reduced, however, to sixteen .shillings. The proba- 
bility seems to be that both the Templars and the de Girros 
family had an interest in Holt Preen, and that the Spreng- 
hose family succeeded to the de Girros interest by purchase. 
The foundation of the cell of Preen within so short a 
distance as six miles from the parent house is remarkable. 
As already stated, Eyton thought that the distance alone 
would account for the foundation, but more probably the 
cell was built by the grantor (whoever he might be), and 
given from pious motives and under certain conditions to 
Wenlock. Another reason would probably have been the 
inaccessibility of the place, situated as it was in a kind of 
terra incognita^ with the almost insuperable barrier of 
Wenlock Edge between the two houses. As to the number 
of monks there is no certain evidence, but it seems probable 

The History of Church Preen. 2 1 

that there were two or three, ^ir George Floyd Duckett, 
Bart, the learned author of the Charters and Records 
among the Archives of the Ancient Abbey of Cluni^ writes 
to me : " You may be quite sure that there were more 
monks than the Prior: you may see in Dugdale's 
Monasticon many subordinate small cells named as having 
a Prior and one monk, In quo est Prior cum monachd* 
One of the witnesses, " William Monryce of Lushcott", 
at the Hughley Commission, 32 Elizabeth (1590), says 
" that he hath heard that the said Priory was founded & 
was given to three to be a house of prayer of the Order 
of St John the Baptist"^ Then again, the Hundred 
Roll of 1255 speaks of the Monks of Preen, which would 
lead one to imagine there were more than one. 

At the time of the sale of Preen, some three years 
before the dissolution of Wenlock, we only hear of the 
Prior; the other monks had probably returned to Wenlock. 

I am unable to give a complete list of the 
names of the Priors of Preen, the first name 
I could find being 

Henry de Prene^ who, in 1244, acted as attorney for the 
Prior of Wenlock in a suit in which Alice, widow of Hamo, 
clerk, sued the Prior for her dower {Eyton^ vol iii, 283). 
This Henry I suppose to have been the Prior of Preen. 
One of the witnesses to a deed quoted by Eyton (vol. vi, 
223) is Henry de Prene, clerk, possibly the same person. 
The deed was dated at Preen, on Monday next after the 
Feast of St Vincent the Martyr, 24 Edward I. 

^ See p. 79* 

2 2 The History of Church Preen. 

Richard de Wystanstowe was Prior in 1301. 

Roger of Little Hereford was presented to the custody of 
the cell on Richard's resignation, April 6th, 1301. After a 
p^ap of about two hundred years, one Cambridge appears 
to have been Prior, 1509-16, " for the space of about seven 
years" (see Hughley Commission ; evidence of Thomas 
Smythe, of Enchmarsh).^ He was succeeded by — 

Don John Castle^ Prior, 151 6-36. He was the last Prior of 
Preen, and in his time the Manor of Preen was sold by 
the Prior of Wenlock to Gyles Coverte,in 1536. The time 
that Castle is stated to have been Prior is variously given 
by witnesses at the Hughley Commission. Thomas Smythe, 
of Enchmarsh, says " for the space of and above 20 yeares". 
Charles Smythe, of the Pleshe {Plaish\ says " for the space 
of ten years together or thereabouts". Thomas Weyver, 
of Gretton Court, says "for the space of about 30 
years". Hugh Samson, alias Cornishe, of Much Wen- 
lock, says " for the space of 40 yeares or thereabouts". 

They all, however, agree as to the time when 
Castle ceased to be Prior. " Don" or " Sir" John Castle 
was otherwise called " Sir" John Gough, probably because 
he had red hair, the British word goch (Anglice, Gough) 
meaning red. He was buried at Much Wenlock, and tne 
following entry was made in the Register : '' 1544, 13 Sept 
Item, the same day and year of our Lord above written 
there was buried out of Hopton Monachorum Sir John 
Gough^ there at that time curate, otherwise called Sir John 
Castle, sometime monck in the monastery of St. Milburghe 

1 P. ^^posiea. 

The History of Church Preen. 23 

here in Moch Wenlock, and Prior of the Cell in Preen, the 
last Prior that there was, whose bodie is here buried". 
(" Extracts from the Register of Sir Thomas Butler, Vicar of 
Much Wenlock in Shropshire," by the Rev. Charles Henry 
Hartshome, Cambrian Journal^ 1861). 

Sir John Bayley^ who was, it is alleged, for some tirte 
called " Mouncke of Preene". I do not think, however, that 
Sir John Bayley was ever prior or monk of Preen ; he was 
the last Prior of Wenlock. In the evidence taken at the 
Hughley Commission, John Garrett, of Hughley, says he 
knows a mansion house '' wherein one did dwell who was 
sometyme Pryor of Prene, and he thinkethe his name that 
last dwelt there was Bayly". 

Sir John Corvehill appears to have succeeded either 
Don John Castle or Sir John Bayley, for in a marriage that 
he celebrated in the chapel of Hughley, on February 9th, 
1544-S, he is called Curate of Preen. The following is a 
full copy of the entry : — " 1 544, 9th Feb., William Corvehill 
of Preen, and Elizabeth the daughter of John Ball of 
Burton, within and of this Parish of the Holy Trinity 
of Moch Wenlock, through licence asked, and instantly by 
the father and friends of the said woman obtained of me, 
Sir Tho» Butler, Vicar of this Parish of Wenlock aforesaid, 
were married ; wedded at the Chapel of Hughlye, by Sir 
John Corvehill, Curate of Preen" (Sir Thomas Butlet^s 
Register above referred to). The following is a copy of the 
curate's will : — " In Dei Nom', Amen. In the seconde year 
of Kinge Edward the Sixte, I, John Corfielde, Clark in 
Prene, hole in mynde & syke in bodye, make my laste will 
& Testament Imprimus I bequeathe my sowle unto 

24 The History of Church Preen. 

Almighty God and to his Mother Mary & all the blessed 
co'peny of Hevyn ; & my bodye to be buryed in the 
Chaunsell of Prene. I bequethe ii tapurs unto the Rector 
of Prene or unto Hewely or unto Staunton. Imprimis 
I bequeath x^ to be bestowyd unto poor people, as my 
executors do thinke beste. Item I bequethe unto Thomas, 
my brother's sone, Lawrence a heyfur, the half unto Harry 
& to Besse. It" I bequethe to Margery an hew clothe & a 
geot copper & a wetinge vessall ; ii boordes in the tawrme 
to Margaret my Sister ; a mattress & a cov^^let & a bolster 
unto Rychard my brother ; a pryted clothe & a cheyer unto 
William my brother; a pane, a mashinge vessell, a skelleb, a 
my\X,y ii stands, a kneedynge borde & all that I did p'mise 
him that he should have had of me & now I c*d not p'forme 
hit but I gyve unto him a candlesticke a camoes. It" 
I bequethe to Ann my servant vi kneedings of flour, a 
burden metclothe, a flaxen shete, and a lynen shete. It" 
I bequethe unto John Wilkes sone my blake cowe at calfe, 

all my hempe or fleechinge of Bakyn chesys : unto 

John Langford a heyfur calfe & his ii shepe & boordes on 
in the tawrme : unto Margaret my servant ii pyggs, that 
I had of John Oxenbold, a lynen shete & an old cloke. 
It" I bequethe to Lawrence Blakeway a heyfur w^ a coppe 

hed : unto Thomas my brother a petycote & a coyfe, 

a table borde w* a forme: unto — my brother my best 
doublet, a foyder & a salteseller & halfe my hay: unto 
Richard my brother my beste hate: unto the p'son of 
Hewely, my best gaberden: unto John Hyggynes of 
Longeley a piyere of horseclothe : unto Anne my sister my 
best metclothe. I admyte William to pay Mai^ery vis. 

The History of Church Preen. 25 

Unto Willia' & Richard all the hey that is laste . These I 
do order & make myne Executors, the p'son of Heweley & 
Thomas my brother & Richard ray brother, to see my will 
fulfyled. The rest of my goodes not bequeathed I bequethe 
to Willia' my brother. These being witnesses Willia' my 
brother & Ann ray servant" 

The above is taken from an office copy obtained from 
the Principal Probate Registry (Prerogative Court of the 
Archbishop of Canterbury), and lent to me by Colonel 
Corfield (see page 54). 

William Person was curate in 1590. 

I am unable to supply the names between 1590 and 

John Coky 1680 to 1685. He was also curate of 
Hughley, 1679 to 168 1. 

Henry Wtlkesy 1685 to 1700. He was buried at Preen, 
April nth, 1700, and his tombstone is in the churchyard. 

Jacob Littlefordy 1700 to 1725. He was also rector of 
Hughley, 1708 to 1723. 

Thomas Shainton^ 172$ to 1746. 

John Pugh, 1746 to 1755, when he resigned. 

George PodmorCy 1755 to 1756. He was nominated by 
Elizabeth Price, of Shrewsbury, spinster, and licensed 
March 17th, 1755. 

David RicCy B,A,y 1756 to 1784. He was nominated by 
Elizabeth Price, and licensed June 25th, 1756. He was 
for some time also curate of Longnor, and was succeeded 
here by — 

Joseph Plymleyy M.A.y Archdeacon of Salop, curate of 
Longnor and Leebotswood, who had been licensed 

26 The History of Church Preen. 

May 19th, 1784, on the nomination of Sarah Windsor, of 
Shrewsbury, widow. ''There is no parsonage house, glebe, 
or tithe of any kind belonging to this church, consequently 
there has not been any resident minister at Preen. The 
sole value of the living was £6^ paid by the proprietor of 
the estate, till it was augmented by Queen Anne's bounty, 
which it has been with three separate sums of j^ 200. Two 
lots, viz., jf 400, of this sum, have been expended in the 
purchase of land at Plasbach, near Oswestry, now let for 
;^i8 8j. per annum. The Archdeacon held this church 
for upwards of eight years, and great part of that time 
served it himself. It required two or three years of its 
then income to repay the expense of taking possession : he 
allowed a curate half-a-guinea ^ Sunday, wishing him to 
go there every other Sunday at least, and for the summer 
season it has been so done, but in the depth of winter'* 
. . . . " the badness of roads, coupled with the distance of 
the church from any resident clergyman, rendered it 
almost impossible to get it served regularly. The accus- 
tomed duty has been once a month, and in the evening 
(the congregation being more numerous then than in the 
morning) except on Sacrament Sundays, which are four in 
the year, at or near to Christmas and Easter".* The clergy 
so assisting the Archdeacon were : — 

William Corstr (1805 to 1808). "This excellent man 
came from his residence at Bridgnorth, generally on a 
Saturday, and passed his Sunday here, benefitting the 
parish by his example and advice, preaching and charity." 

Thomas Farmer Dukes, c. 184 1 {AddiHanal AfS.^ 21018), from 
whom another quotation is given on p. 108. — Ed. 


The History of Church Preen. 27 

(In) "1808 Mr. Corser taking Leighton in Lichfield 
Diocese, for the benefit of a widow and resided {residing) 
there, he employed Jos^h Morris^ Rector of Tasley, living 
at Bridgnorth, to serve this church."^ 

John Witts y vicar of Cardington, 1809 to 18 14. The 
• Archdeacon succeeded to the Longnor estates and took 
the name of Corbett, resigning his curacy here in 18 14 in 
favour of his curate at Holgate. 

David CadwaUader (181 5 to 1822), who was licensed 
February ist, 181 5, on the nomination of Sarah Windsor, 
of Shrewsbury. He continued curate until his death. 

Gorges Paulin Lowther, B,A. (1822 to 1827) who was 
licensed July 20th, 1822, on the presentation of John 
Windsor, of Longford, co. Derby, Esquire, his brother-in-law. 
His sub-curate was Morgan JoneSy son of the vicar of Ditton. 
On Mr. Lowther's resignation he was succeeded by 

William Webster (1827 to 1843), Hcensedl August Sth, 
1 827, having been nominated by William Webster, Esquire. 
He continued curate until his death. 

Robert Armitage (1843 to 185 1). He was appointed on 
the collation of the Bishop of Hereford by reason of lapse. 
He was also vicar of Easthope. His successor, on the 
nomination of William Hanbury Sparrow, was 

John Wakefieldy of St Edmund's Hall, Oxford (185 1 to 
1874). He was also rector of Hughley, and resigned this 
curacy. He died and was buried at Hughley. 

Francis Henry Pal^,MA,y of Cambridge (1874 to 1881), 
grandson of Archdeacon Paley, was previously vicar of 

^ See note on p. 26.— Ed. 

2S The History of Church Preen. 

Penn» co. StafTord, and resigned this curacy, to which he 
had been nominated by me, June i6th, 1881. 

Frederic Cooke ^ B^,^ Cambridge, appointed on my 
nomination in 188 1. He resigned July 23rd, 1883. 

Edward Foskett ^a^n^,^.^., Cambridge (1883 to 1891). 
He was appointed on my nomination in 1883, and resigned 
in 1891. 

Thonias Evans MinshuU^ of Trinity Collie, Dublin, 
who was appointed on my nomination in 1891. After 
Mr. Wakefield's death, he was also rector of Hughley. 
He died at St. Malo, May 24th, 1894, in the railway 

Edward Collett, of St Mary Hall, Oxford, the present 
curate of Preen, and rector of Hughley, was appointed on 
my nomination in 1 894. 

In the preparation of the preceding list of the incum- 
bents, I have, searched the Admission Registers, Licenses, 
and other records in the Hereford Diocesan R^stry. 
On October 25th, 1826, Mr. Theodore Lane, the then 
Registrar, wrote to Mr. James Blair, of Uttoxeter, Staflford- 
shire, solicitor, to the eflfect that he could not find ''any 
entry of nomination to Preen prior to 17 March, 1755" 
I have received a similar report from Mr. H. C. Beddoe, 
the present Deputy Registrar, who concludes with these 
words : — '* I have found in many instances there were 
no early entries of licenses to Perpetual Curacies." 

,^ ^ „ That the Cell of Preen was to a certain extent 

independent of Wenlock seems without doubt 

In Pope Nicholas's taxation, 1291, where the income of 

The History of Church Preen. 29 

the Prior of Wenlock from various sources is given, the 
income from the temporalities of the cell of Preen 
(;^8 lar. i^.) does not appear to be included {Eyton^ iii 
p. 24s, note). 

Church Preen was one of the many districts included in 
the parish of the Holy Trinity at Wenlock, and it; is 
mentioned as being within the limits of the boundary of 
the parish by a witness in 1332 {Eyton^ iii, 268). 

I am unable to say to what extent this inclusion affected 
the Prior of Preen, but he was liable to be punished, and 
even removed, by the Prior of Wenlock (who was also rector 
of the church of the Holy Trinity) upon sufficient cause. 

Eyton says " that the parish of Church Preen was 
originally involved in that of Cardington, in which parish 
Holt Preen still remains". Holt Preen is still a township 
in Cardington, but, prior to the beginning of the thirteenth 
century, it was evidently severed from Cardington ; and, 
although in the visitation book of Bishop Westfaling, in 
1587, the church is spoken of as annexed to that of 
Cardington, it is clear the connection was only a nominal 
one, as in 1 590 William Person was curate of Preen. It 
appears to have been annexed to Cardington at the time 
of the Reformation, and before 1590 to have reverted to 
its former status of a parish ecclesiastically distinct from 

Devohtton It is a task attended with no little difficulty to 

of the trace the devolution of the Preen Manor from 

Manor. ^^ ^j^e that it ceased to be monastic property^ 

In the depositions taken 4 Elizabeth concerning concealed 

30 The History of Church Preen. 

lands in the county of Salop, it is given in evidence that in 
26 Henry 8 (i 534), ChVistopher Hales, Esq., Robert Wrothe, 
Esq., Richard Crumwell, Esq., and Ralph Sadler, Esq., who I 
presume were the King's Commissioners, " recovered seizin 
against John, Prior of the monastery of Saint Milburge of 
Wenlok of the manor of Peryn, alias Preen, with appur- 
tenances and six messuages, six cottages, one dovecote, 
1 20 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, 200 acres of pasture, 
and 100 acres of wood, with appurtenances in Peryn, aUas 
Preen, who voucheth to warranty Thomas Chapman," etc. 
(Exchequer, Queen's Remembrancer, Miscellanea, Con- 
cealed Lands, W> ^^mo 4 Elizabeth. Depositions, Salop). 
This is corroborated by the original entry on the De Banco 
Rolls, Michaelmas Term, anno 26 Henry VHI, membrane 

From this it would appear that four hundred and sixty 
acres of the Preen estate got into the hands of the King. 
This may have been the part of the manor held by the 
Prior of Wenlock or the Prior of Preen in demesne. At 
the same time '^John Dudley, Knight, released all his 
right in the Manor of Preen, etc., to the aforesaid Chris- 
topher, Robert, Richard and Ralph by his writing, bearing 
date the loth of December, 26 Henry VHI". Also " The 
Prior and Convent of Wenlok by writing, bearing date 
23rd of December, 26 Henry VHI, have released to the 
aforesaid Christopher, Robert, Richard, and Ralph all 
their right in the premises". And lastly, " The Prior of 
Preen has released to the same by his writing bearing date 
29 April, 27 Henry VHI", etc. 

These transactions took place at the time of the disso- 


The History of Church Preen. 3 1 

lutlon of the smaller monasteries. (Depositions, Salop, 
ut supra.) 

They were not, however, the only transactions in which 
Preen was concerned, for in 32 Henry VIII we find a 
final concord, by which Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, sells to 
the above Sir John Dudley, Knight, the Manor of Acton 
Bumell, etc., etc., and fifty messuages, three thousand acres 
of land, five hundred acres of meadow, two thousand acres 
of pasture, two thousand acres of wood, two thousand 
acres of furze and heath, and sixty pounds rent {inter alia) 
in ''Piyne" for one thousand six hundred pounds. In 
reference to this, I may remark that the Burnell property 
was forfeited to the Crown in consequence of Lord Lovel, 
the heir of the Burnells, of Acton Bumell, adhering to 
King Richard III. Henry VII granted them to Jasper, 
Earl of Bedford, for life, who, dying without issue, they 
reinvested in the Crown. They were then granted by 
King Henry VIII in his 24th year to the Duke of 

In this Bumell property was included the Manor of 
Castle Holgate, with all the rights that its Lord had in 
the Manor of Church Preen; and the sixty pounds rent or 
whatever portion of it was chargeable upon Preen may 
have been a kind of rent-charge held by the Lords of 
Holgate, and entirely distinct from the four hundred and 
sixty acres that Dudley released to the King's Commis- 
sioners in 26th Henry VIII. It seems, however, clear 
that whatever '' rights" the Lords of Holgate had in the 
Priory of Preen were granted by Henry VIII to the Duke 
of Norfolk. 

32 The History of Church Preen. 

y ' ' ' 

The following notes from the Manorial Records of Hoi- 
gate relate to Preen as a member of Holgate Manor^ : — 

" Holgate, to wit View of Frank Pledge, with Court 
Baron of Sir John Dudley, Knight, held at the same on 
the 13th day of May, 30 Henry VIH (1538). 

("The Jury for our Lord the King' include Thomas 
Crowther and William Parsons, both Preen names). 

"Holgate, to wit. The Court of Sir John Dudley, 
Knight, held at the same before Adam Mytton, esquire, 
Steward, on the loth day of June, 31 Henry VIII (1539). 

" Preen : — The Jury present John Corveld for brewing 

" Holgate, to wit View of Frank Pledge, with Court 
Leet of Henry Cressett, gentleman, held at the same .... 
5 Edward VI, before Charles Fox, Steward. 

^^ Preen: — The Jury present John Middleton for using 
abusive words to Thomas Persons ; they fine Thomas 
Hethe 20 pence; they present Richard Edwards for 
obstructing a public road called ' the Causeway' leading to 
the parish church of Milbome Stoke ; Thomas Hatton for 
taking fruit from John Bebbe's orchard without leave ; 
Ellis Blakeway for damage ; and Richard Beeche for not 
having a bow and arrows according to law. 

" Holgate, to wit View of Frank Pledge, with Court 
Baron, held on the 24th day of May, 41 Elizabeth (1599), 
before Edward Littleton, esquire, Steward. 

" Preen : — The Jury present William Parsons for selling 

^ From transcripts contained in a manuscript collection at Preen, 
marked "Shropshire MSS., 1407, &c." (4to), which, according to the 
water-mark in the paper, was formed in 1832. — £d. 

3 c; 

1 s 

The History of Church Preen. 33 

bread and ale, and breaking the Assize ; John Yeomans 
for being a common butcher and selling unsavoury victuals ; 
and John Byshopp for raising a 'hue and cry' without 
just cause". 

The preceding entries are translated from the abbre- 
viated Latin in the Preen manuscript. 

Sir John Dudley sold a portion of the property in 
33 Henry VIII (Final Concord, Salop, Hilary Term) for 
£fiQOy but the Preen estate is not included in the sale. I 
think it must have been about this time that the connection 
between the Bumells of Acton Bumell and Castle Holgate, 
or their successors, with Preen was severed. Sir John 
Dudley appears to have been Lord of Holgate from 30 to 
35 Henry VIII. The Castle Holgate manor was in the 
hands of Henry Cressett in 5 Edward VI. I cannot, how- 
ever, fix the date at which Preen ceased to be a member of 
Holgate, to which manor it had been attached since the 

After the dissolution of the greater monasteries, Wen- 
lock was granted by Henry VIII, in the 36th year of his 
reign, to his physician, Augustine de Augustinis, including 
certain lands formerly belonging to the Priory, but among 
these lands there is no mention of Preen or its cell ; and it 
is through a fortunate discovery at the Record Office that 
I am able to continue the story. According to the report of 
a commission that was held at Hughley in the 32 Elizabeth 
(1590), (Exchequer, Queen's Remembrancer, Depositions 
by Commission, Hilary Term, 32 Elizabeth, No. i). Preen 
was a cell of Wenlock Abbey; and in 1533, or three years 
before the dissolution of Wenlock, the Prior of Wenlock, 

34 The History of Ofurch Preen. 

either with or without the concurrence of the Prior of 
Preen, sold the manor to one Gyles Coverte. No doubt 
this was done by the Prior of Wenlock to avoid the con- 
fiscation of Preen with the rest of the Abbey property. 

The Hughley Commission appears to have been held by 
the Concealed Land Commissioners with the object of 
proving that the Priory of Preen was independent of Wen- 
lock : that, in fact, the Prior of Wenlock had no right to 
sell it to Coverte. Now, as the sale took place in 1533, 
and the commission at Hughley was held in 1590, a period 
of nearly sixty years had elapsed ; and as the witnesses 
summoned had to speak of events that occurred at a 
period so long antecedent, they were nearly all very old 
people. Their ages are, indeed, remarkable, and it speaks 
much for the salubrity of the neighbourhood of Preen. In 
all, thirty-seven witnesses were examined ; of these, eleven 
were on behalf of the Crown, and sixteen on behalf of the 
defendant, William Dyckins, the son and heir of Humphrey 
Dyckins, who, in 1560 (Feet of Fines, Salop, Hilary, 
2 Elizabeth), had bought the manor of Preen from Richard 
Coverte, Esq. (the brother of Gyles Coverte), and Katherine 
his wife, the probability being that Coverte looked upon 
his title as an insecure one.^ The united ages of these 
twenty-seven witnesses was 2,120 years, or an average of 
78 J years each ; ten were between 80 and 90, three over 90, 
and one old lady had reached the patriarchal age of loa 
The remaining ten witnesses were the tenants of Preen. I 

^ Giles Coverte, Lord of Preen from 1533 until his death at South- 
wark, June 23rd, 1557. His brother and heir, Richard Coverte 
Lord of Preen from 1557 until sale to Humphrey Dyckins, 1560, 


The History of Church Preen. 35 

have had the whole of the evidence transcribed, and it 
contains much of great interest 

Several of the witnesses speak of the Prior of Preen 
being punished by the Prior of Wenlock for misde- 
meanour ; one of them, William Persons, curate of Preen 
(who seems to have been appointed curate when the 
Prior left, soon after the sale to Coverte), says : " that 
he knoweth that the Pryor of Preene for a falte or 
offence which he had comytted, was sent for by the 
Pryor of Moche Wenlocke, and was by him punished 
for his said offence in the chapter house of Moche 
Wenlocke aforesaid, and was his obedyencer there." 
Another witness says that he *'was there ponished & 
deteigned under correction in the Sactry by the space of 
aboute one fortenighte or eighte dayes. And by the 
Pryor of Moche Wenlocke another Monck of the said 
house called Sir Richard ffishwycke was appoynted 
duringe that tyme to serve & say servyce or prayers in 
his rome at Pryne aforesaid & that the Pryor of Preene 
was under the obedyence of the Pryor of Moche Wenlocke 
& called him Master." 

It appears that the Prior of Preen thought himself 
injured by the sale of Jreen by the Prior of Wenlock, for 
one witness says : "After the suppression of the said 
Priorie & the puttjnge out of the said Castle, he the said 
Don John Castle went to London in companie of this 
examynates father to complayne of the wronge to him 
done & obteyned an annuytie of four markes or three 
pounds by year during his lief, & immedyatelie after- 
wardes the said Don John was placed in the Priorie of 

36 The History of Church Preen. 

Dudley & there contynued till the suppression thereof 
& then came to Moncke Hopton where he lived as 
curate till he died." The evidence of another witness 
is curious and interesting : he says : " that he hath 
hard that the said Priorie was founded & given to three, 
one Burnell, Cawtrope, then Prior of Wenlocke, & 
one Geerse, to be a howse of praier of the order of 
St John the Baptiste & saith that he sawe the pycture 
of a heade called the heade of St. John Baptiste in 
the Church or Priorie of Pryne, where the same con- 
tynued & was offered unto untill the dissolucion of the 
said Priorie, & hath harde by credyble reporte that the 
said John Castle had a common seale whereupon was 
engraved the picture of the said St John where with he 
sealed the wrytings or leases of such landes as he graunted 
which were parcell of the said Mannour or Lordship of 

I may remark, in reference to this image, that St John 
the Baptist is the patron Saint of Church Preen, and that 
at the east end of the church are two comer brackets, upon 
one of which I imagine the image of St John stood, and 
upon the other probably that of the Virgin Mary. The 
late Rev. Prebendary Mackenzie B. C. Walcott thought 
that an Ankerhold might have existed at Preen at the 
close of the thirteenth century, and that a legend relating 
a vision that befell the recluse, and taken from the 
Chronicle of Lanercost, referred to the Preen Anker- 

^ See Appendix D (p. 137), and p. 11 1 posUa. 

Ill f nfcJMJfc^iifclil—^ i^Mll " ■ • ^^^f^m^m^ 

The History of Church Pr$en, 37 

The evidence given before the Hughley Commission is 
more fully dealt with at page 70. 

I have not been able to discover among the Assize 
Rolls any record of the decision arrived at after the 
close of the Hughley Commission, but it appears to have 
been in favour of the Queen, as she by her letters patent 
in the 33rd year of her reign, that is in 1591, the year 
after the Commission, " as well in fulfilment of part of a 
certain warrant by us to our faithful and beloved servant 
Edward Dyer, Esquire, made, for lands concealed, dated 
on the second day of May, in the fifteenth year of our 
reign, as at the humble petition of the said Edward Dyer", 
etc., "have given and granted", etc, " to William Typper 
and Robert Dawe of London, gentlemen" .... "and also 
all our Tenement with appurtenances and all our lands, 
tenements, and hereditaments in Prene, alias Peryne, alias 
Prine, alias Prime, in the County of Salop, formerly to the 
Monastery or Priory of Wenlocke and Prene, alias Perine, 
alias Pryne, alias Pryme, in the said County of Salop, or 
to either of them belonging or appertaining or lately 
being parcels of the possessions of the same or either 
of them. And all our right, estate, interest, claim and 
demand whatsoever of and in all the same lands, tene- 
ments, and hereditaments whatsoever in Prene alias 
Perine, alias Prine, alias Prime, in the same County of 
Salop .... and of and for the aforesaid tenement and 
other premises in Preene, alias Peryne, alias Pryne, alias 
Prime, in the County of Salop, aforesaid, three shillings 
and four pence". (Patent Roll, a"" 33 Elizabeth, part 9, 
membrane 25.) 

38 The History of Church Preen. 

William Typper and Robert Dawe were two traffickers in 
monastic property, and as Edward Dyer's interest in Preen 
was sold to them 33 Elizabeth (1590), the year after the 
Commission at Hughley, the probability seems to be that 
a compromise was arranged with William Dyckins, who 
was at that time in possession of the property, by which 
he was left in undisturbed possession. It appears that 
soon after William Dyckins came into possession most of 
the tenants (who had had long leases, generally for eighty- 
one years, granted to them by Sir John Castle, the last 
Prior) arranged to surrender their' leases and have new 
ones granted by William Dyckins for a longer period ; and 
this they did, as they say in their evidence, upon the 
advice of Judge Leighton, of Plaish, and of Mr. Plowden. 
Evidently William Dyckins thought to strengthen his 
title, and the tenants probably wished to make sure that 
their leases were good, as far as William Dyckins was 

The Manor of Preen remained in the Dyckins family 
from 1560 to I749> when the mor^agees of John 
Dickins (the sixth in descent from Humphrey Dyckins) 
sold the manor to Miss Elizabeth Price, granddaughter 
of Thomas Price^ of Webscott, in the parish of Middle, 
by Margaret, sister and co-heir of Thomas Thomes of 

The Dyckins family were of Leaton, in the parish of 
Bobbington, Co. Stafford, where they had been seated 
from the time of Henry VI ; they were also Lords of 
Churchill, Co. Worcester. The first member of the family 
who lived in the Prior's house at Preen appears to have 


The History of Church Preen. 39 

been Richard Dyckins, the younger brother of Humphrey ; 
as, according to the evidence of one of the witnesses at 
the Hughley Commission, he was living in the house at 
that time. Probably the house was occupied by some 
member of the family continuously after this date, until 
the time when they ceased to be the owners of Preen. 

Thomas Dickins, the great-grandson of Humphrey, 
lived in the Prior's house, and his father John may 
have done so, for in Preen Church are his initials: 
" I. D. 1646." 

This Thomas married Margaret Coriield, who is referred 
to page 48. I am not sure that John, the son of 
Thomas Dickins, lived at Preen: he probably died in 
his father's lifetime, but both his two sons, Thomas and 
Matthew, were buried at Preen. 

Thomas, the elder of those two sons, probably lived 
for some time at Leaton, but Matthew, the younger, 
certainly lived at Preen, either in the Prior's house or 
in an old Manor-house described by Mr. Hard wick as a 
large half-timbered structure, and called "the Hall" of 
Church Preen, and which stood upon the site of the 
present farmhouse adjoining Preen Manor. In the Index 
Villaris of " Mr." Adams, of the Inner Temple (London, 
folio, 1680), "Prene in the Hundred of Condover" is 
described as having the seat of '' one gentleman". This 
doubtless refers to Matthew Dickins : he was church- 
warden in 1686. 

It may be that the elder brother, Thomas, was living in the 
Prior's house at the time of his death in 17 10. Matthew 
had a son named John (churchwarden in 1727), who lived at 

40 The History of Church Preen. 

Preen, and was there buried 5th December, 1762. John 
Dickins, son and heir of Thomas (cousin of the above 
John), was of Leaton and Preen. At the latter place he 
was buried 19th February, 1760. He married Mary, the 
daughter of Sir William Fowler, of Hamage Grange. 
Their only son, Richard, was the last member of the 
Dickins or Dyckins family that lived at Preen, and he 
was buried there on 28th October, 1764. The registers of 
five of his children are to be found at Preen. 

So that it appears for seven generations, lasting one 
hundred and eighty-nine years, the Dyckins family held 
the Manor of Church Preen. 

The following genealogical account, which I have put 
together as the result of some labour, may be of interest at 
this point 

Pedigree of DiCKINS, compiled from the Records of the 
Heralds' College, Parish Registers, Inquisitions fast- 
mortem, and other evidences. 

Arms : Ermine, a cross flory sable, 

William Dyckins, of Bobbington, Staffordshire, was 
father of — 

Thomas Dyckins, of Bobbington, who was Lord of 
Churchill, Worcestershire, in the time of Henry VI. He 
had issue two sons : 

I. John, his heir. 

II. Thomas, whose son Richard was father of Thomas 
of Morehall, Staffordshire. The latter, by Edith 
bis wife, daughter of Thomas Corbin of Morehall, 



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The History of Church Preen. 4 1 

and his wife, who was a Miss More, of Morehall, 
had a daughter Ah'ce, who became heir to her 
mother. Alice Dickins married Matthew Moreton, 
of Engleton, Staffordshire, and had issue — 

Edward Moreton, living 1583. 

Alice, ffi. her third cousin once-removed, William 

Dickins, utpostea. 
Isabel, tn. John Eg^ngton, of Rodbaston, 


The eldest son — 

John Dyckins, of Bobbington, m. Eleanor Blount, and 
was father of — 

Hugh Dyckins, of Bobbington, m. Joan, dau. of Humph- 
rey Lea, of Enville, and had issue three sons — 

I. Humphrey, his heir. 
II. Thomas William, 
in. Richard, of Church Preen, living 1 590. 

The eldest son — 

Humphrey Dyckins, of Bobbington, by Elizabeth his 
wife was father of— 

William, the next holder of the Bobbington property. 

He bought the manor of Church Preen in 1560 from 
Richard Coverte, brother and heir of Giles Coverte, who 
died June 23rd, 1559 (Inquisition post-mortem taken at 
Southwark). The son of Humphrey, 


42 The History of Church Preen. 

William Dickins, of Bobbington, Lord of the Manor of 
Churchill, m., as already stated (p. 41), Alice Moreton, 
and had a son John. He was living in 1503, and was 
succeeded by his said son — 

John Dickins, of Bobbington, and of Newlands in the 
parish of Much Malvern ; b. in the autumn of 1 578 ; m. 
first, Elizabeth Mackworth, of Betton Grange, Shropshire, 
and had issue — * 

L Thomas, his heir. 
II. Richard, s, p, 
IIL Francis, died young. 
I. Margery, wife ol Thomas Perry, of Wergs, in the 
parish of Tettenhall, Staffordshire. 

By his second wife, Jane, dau. of Edmund Braddock, of 
Adbaston, Staffordshire, he had issue — 

IV. John, d, 1661, having m, Jane, dau. of Francis 
Woodhouse, of the Woodhouses, Womboumc, 
Staffordshire, by whom he had issue — 

1. Tomyns, of Morse, Staffordshire, who entered 

the family pedigree and arms at ^e Heralds^ 
Visitation, April loth, 1663, being then 
aged 40. He had previously m. Mary, dau. 
of John Corbyn, of Aymour, Worcester- 
shire, and had issue Tomyns, ^. 1661 ; John ; 
Mary, ^..1654; Elizabeth; Anne, and 

2. Edward, 

3. John, 
I. Elizabeth, mt., first, Thomas Ferry of Wergs 

r citizens of London. 

The History of Church Preen. 43 

{cf. the marriage of her half-aunt Margery), 
and secondly, Nathaniel Hilton, citizen 
of London. 

V. Gerard, | rr j 

vTTMi. r citizens of London, 
vi. William, j 

IL Elizabeth, m, Herbert Walwyn, of Newland, Wor- 

John Dickins died in April, 1656, and was buried in the 
" lower part of the choir" of Great Malvern church, on the 
2Sth of that month. It is probable that " LD. 1646", on 
the reading-desk of Preen Church, refers to him (see p. 39). 
He was succeeded by — 

Thomas Dickins, of Leaton (which property eventually 
passed to the Moseleys), in the parish of Bobbington, who 
at the Herald^ Visitation^ April loth, 1663, was aged 65. 
He was twice m. ; first to Margaret, dau. of William 
Corfield, of Church Preen (see p. 48), and had issue 
by her — 

I. John. 

L Elizabeth, nu Roger Bird, of Ipsley, Warwickshire. 
II. Margaret, m. John Lacy, of Feckenham, Worcester- 
III. Alice, m. John Smallwood, of Middlewich, Cheshire. 

He m. secondly, Elizabetli, dau. of Robert Walwyn, of 
Newland, and had issue — 

II. Thomas, b, 1637. 

III. Herbert. 

IV. Robert. 
V. William. 

44 The History of Church Preen. 

IV. Anne, m. John Pratt, of Tuckhill, StafTordshire. 
V. Rachel, m. Henry Walwyn, of Colwall, Herefordshire. 
VI. Elizabeth, m. William Reade, of Manley, Worcester- 
VII. Jane, died young. 

The eldest son — 

John Dickins, of Church Preen, b. 163 1 ; iw . as a 
minor, circa 1648, Sarah, dau. of Samuel More, of Linley, 
Shropshire, and had issue by her — 

I. Thomas, his heir. 
II. Matthew, of Church Preen, churchwarden in 1686, 
b. after 1663, and was buried at Preen, May 27th, 
1752, leaving by Mary his wife — 

1. John, of Church Preen, churchwarden in 

1727 ; b. Dec 31st, 1695 ; bapt. at Preen, 
Jan. 9th, 1696 ; m. there Nov. 5th, 1722, 
Ann Stary (who was buried at Preen in 
the "desk pew", May 26th, 1773, aged 83). 
He was also buried there, Dec. 5th, 1762. 

2. Matthew, bapt at Preen, March 22nd, 1700 ; 

bur. there, May 27th, 1752. 

1. Elizabeth, bapt there Sept 19th, 1704, and 

buried Sept 22nd, 1704. 

2. Mary (twin with Elizabeth), bapt on the 

same day, and buried, Oct 2nd, 1704. 

3. Mary, bapt at Preen, Jan. 4th, 1706; nu 

there, May 2nd, 1736, to John BoUen, 
of Preen, and afterwards of Brockton, in 
Stanton Long (who was buried in a vault 

The History of Church Preen. 45 


in Preen Church, May 29th, 1782, aged 7T) ; 
buried in the vault in which her husband 
was afterwards buried, May 2nd, 1773. 

4. Ann, bapt at Preen, June 9th, 1709; m. 
there, April 21st, 1730, to John Acton, of 
Astley Abbots, and had a dau. Hannah, 
bapt at Preen, March 9th, 1730. 

I. Elizabeth, aged 14, at the 1663 Visitation. 

He d, in 1679, probably in his father's lifetime. His 
will, proved in the same year, names John Turton, of 
Alderhayes, Robert More, of Cheapside, and his wife, as 
executors.^ John Dickins's eldest son, 

Thomas Dickins, of Leaton, b. 1653, borrowed £/^qo 
in 1679, and charged his estates with ;f 600 for his younger 
son, Thomas. He was buried at Preen, December 21st, 
1710, leaving issue by Mary his wife, 

I. John, his heir. 

II. Thomas, of Leebotswood, m. at Preen, May 29th, 
1728, Mary Martin, of that parish. 

The eldest son — 

John Dickins, of Leaton and Preen, whose mortgagees 
sold Preen July 30th, 1749, to Elizabeth Price (see p. 54). 
In 1709 he owed ;f 1,056 to Joseph Girder, Serjeant-at- 
Law. He m. Mary, dau. of Sir William Fowler, of 
Hamage Grange, having settled an annuity of ;f 150 upon 

^ A John Dickins was buried at Preen, May 5th, 1718, but I do not 
know to whom the entry refers. 

46 The History of Church Preen. 

her. He was buried at Preen, February 19th, 1760, having 
had issue a son and three daughters — 

I. Richard, his heir. 

I. Mary, m, John Moreton, of St Giles, weaver. 
II. Hester, m. Mr. Wilson. 
III. Diana, m. Francis Jones, of Lindion, Denbighshire. 

The only son — 

Richard Dickins, sometime of Preen, was buried 
there October 28th, 1764, leaving, by Ann his wife, two 
sons and four daughters — 

I. John, his heir. 

II. Fowler, bapt at Preen, June 23rd, 1749. 
I. Ann, bapt there, September 14th, 1746. 
II. Elinor, buried there, March 31st, 175 1. 
III. Ursula, bapt there, June 26th, 175 1. 
IV. Mary, m. there, July 30th, 1790, John Mansell, of 
Much Wenlock (who died there and was buried 
at Preen, April 20th, 1784). She was also buried 
at Preen, July 30th, 1790. 

The elder son — 

John Dickins, bom in 1737, was father of John 
Dickins, Captain R-N., of Woodford Grange, Stafford- 
shire; b. 1772, m. twice and had many children, one of 
whom was — 

Robert Archibald Dickins, of Woodford Grange, a 
Major in the Yeomanry, who d. at an advanced age in 
1 893, and was buried at Trysail, having had an only son 
Bramah, who d. unmarried in his father's lifetime. 

The History of Church Preen. 47 

Margaret Corfield, who married Thomas Dickins 
in or about 1630, was a member of an old Shropshire 
family, a branch of which had. for several generations 
been tenants at Preen under the Prior. 

They traced their descent from one Edward, who held 
Corve in Stanton Long, in Corve Dale, in the twelfth 
century; his son, Ralph Fitz-Edward, held Corve in 11 80, 
and from him presumably descended Richard de Corfielde, 
Lord of the Manor of Longville, who married Abigail 

The eldest son of the said Richard de Corfielde was 
John, of Chatwall, who was buried at Cardington in June, 
1561 ; the youngest son, Thomas, was of Much Wenlock : 
he was the father of three sons. Sir William Corvehill, 
"Priest of the service of our Blessed Lady St. Mary 
within the Church of the Holy Trinity" at Much Wenlock } 

* Copy of entry of Sir William Corvehill's burial in Wenlock Register: 
— '* 26 May, 1546. Here was 6uryed out of the Strete called Mardfold 
out of the two Tenements next unto Sancte Owens Well, on the same 
side of the well, the body of S' Will» Corvehill, Preist of the Service 
of Qr blessed Lady S^ Marie, within the Churche of the holy Trinite 
&& which two hows belonging to the said S'vice he had i' his occupa- 
cion, w^ their apperten' and parte of his wages, which was viij markes, 
and the said hows in an overj^us : whose body was buryed in the 
chanccii of our blessed Lady before th' alf^ under the Ston in the 
myddle of the said altare, upon the left hande as ye treade and stand 
on the heighest steppe of the thre, befor the said altare ; whose fete 
streche forth und^ the said altare to the wall in the Eest of th' altare, 
the body ther lying w4n the Erth in a tomb of lyme and ston which 
which he caused to be made for himselfe for that intent ; after the 
reryng & buldyng of the new Ruff of the said chansell, which rering, 
framyng & new reparyng of th' altare & chancell was don' throw the 
coundll of the ^ S' W™ Corvehill, who was excellently & singularly 

48 The History of Church Preen. 

a secular priest called Sir Andrew, who died at Croydon, 
and Dominus John, monk in the monastery at Wenlock. 

To return to the eldest son of Richard, John Corfield : 
he was also of Longville and Chatwall, and in 1 505 received 
a grant of lease of lands in Preen for eighty-one years 
from " Sir" John Castle, the last Prior of Preen. He was 
father of five sons : — 

I. Thomas, of Chatwall. 

II. William, of Church Preen, married Elizabeth Ball, of 
Bourton, and was father of Margaret, married Thomas 
Dickins, as stated on pp. 43 and 47. His will, dated 
December 28th, 17 Elizabeth, 1574, is as follows : — 

" I, Willm Corfeld of Prene in the Countie of Salop and 
Dioc^ of Heref., sick in bodie but in perfitt remembrance 
in mynde, thankes be given to AUmightie God, doe make 
this my last Will & testament in manner and forme as 

experte in dyv'se of the vij liberal sciences & especially in geometre, 
not greatly by speculac'on, but by experience ; and few or non of 
handyecrafte but that he had a very gud insight in them, as the 
making of Organs, of a clocke and chimes, an in kerving, in Masonrie, 
and weving of Silke, an in peynting ; and noe instrumente of musike 
beyng but that he coulde mende it, and many gud ghifts the man had, 
and a very pacient man, and full honeste in his conversac'on and 
lyv'ng ; borne here, in this borowe of Moche Wenlok & somtyme 
moncke in the monastrie of S' Mylb'ge here. Two brethren he had. 
One called Dominus John, Monke in the said monastrie, and a Secular 
prieste called S' Andrew Corvehill who dyed at Croydon beside 
London, on whose soule & all Christian soules Almighty God have 
m'cy, Ame'. All this contreyhath a great losse of the death of 
the s<i Sir Will«^ Corvehill for he was a gud Bell founder & a mak' of 
the frame for bells."— (5/r Thomas Butler's Register^ referred to on 
p. 23.) 

The History of Church Preen. 49 

hereafter followeth. ffirst & principallie I comend my soule 
to Allmightie God my Maker and redeamer & my bodie to 
be buried in the parrishe church of Preene at my last end. 
Item I giue & bequeath to the Cathedrall Churche of 
Heref<^ vj^^. Item I giue & bequeath to the people that to 
my parrishe Churche will come at the daie of my buriall, 
my funerall being ended, everie one of them .... pence 
apece. Item my will and entent is and I giue & bequeath 
to Elizabeth my wief my whole Tenement, with th' appur- 
tenances, and all therunto belonging, and all my goodes 
and cattell mouable and vnmoveable to rear and kepe my 
children, vntill they come to the full age of Twentie and 
one yeres, with sufficient meat, drinke and clothe as is 
mete for their behavioure, as longe as she kepeth hir 
widowhod, and if so be that my foresaid wief list to marie 
at anye tyme, my will ys that my sone Will'm shall have 
my foresaid tenement with all meadowes, leasues, pastures 
with all thereunto belonging, as longe as the yeres endure 
yf he wilbe rvled and governed by his mother and his 
frendes. Yf he will not be ruled by his mother and his 
frendes, my will ys that it shall remaine to one of his 
brethren which pleaseth his mother best Also my will is 
that if Willm my foresaid sonne doe not enter of my fore- 
said tenement w^in the space of tenne yeres. Then I giue 
and bequeath to Willm my sone Twentie poundes ; yf he 
doe enter within tenne yeres, my will ys that his parte do 
remaine amongest his fellowes. AIsq my will is that if it 
chance Elizabeth my wief to decease or marrie before my 
foresaid children come to their full age of xxj^i yeres. Then 
Willffi my sone to finde my foresaid children sufficient 


50 The History of Church Preen. 

meat, drink and cloth, accordinge as they had in tymes 
past, vntill they come to the age as is aforesaid. Item my 
will and entent is and I giue and bequeath to John my 
sone Twentie poundes yf he wilbe ruled by his mother and 
his frendes: yf he will not, to have but five poundes. 
Item I giue and bequeath to Richard my sonne Twentie 
poundes. Item I giue and bequeath to Thomas my sone 
xxvji^ Item I giue and bequeath to ffrauncis my sonne 
Twentie poundes. Item I giue and bequeath to Jasper 
my sone Twentie poundes. Item I giue and bequeath 
to Elizabeth my daughter flfourtie mearkes yf she wilbe 
ruled by hir mother. Also my will and entent is that my 
foresaid children shall haue everie one his parte when he 
cometh to the age of Twentie and one yeres. Also my 
will is that if anye of my foresaid children chaunce to 
decease before they come to their age as is aforesaid, my 
will is that his or her parte to remaine to and amongest 
their fellowes. Item I giue and bequeath to everie godchild 
of myne iiij^. Item I giue and bequeath to everie brother's 
child and syster's of myne iiij^. Item I giue and bequeath 
to Margerie Myddleton my seruant maide a Iwoe yere 
olde heyfer and the Croppe of a Cowe. Item I giue to 
Alice my servant a yere old shepe. Item I giue and 
bequeath to my sone in lawe Humfrey James' children a 
twoe yere olde heyfer to be sett forward for them. 

" Debts owinge vnto the foresaid Willm Corfeld dew 
to be paid at this tyme, A thousand five hun- 
dred seventie fower. 

'' Imprimis Richard Lee, of Longley, esquier, doth owe 

The History of Church Preen. 5 1 

vnto me the some of Tenne poundes, w^^ I lent him oute 
of my purse. Item Willm Bickfork, of the parrishe of 
Hampton, doth owe vnto me fouer poundes wanting xvj<^ 
for certein cattell which I soulde him. Item W"' Wollaston» 
of Trescot graunge, doth owe vnto me iiiji* xiijs iiij** for 
certeine cattell whiche I soulde him. Item Richard Baule, 
of Burton, doth owe vnto me xl^, which I lent him oute of 
my purse. Item Thomas WoUastone doth owe vnto me 
xx> for a horse which I soulde vnto Thomas Dod, he 
being suertie. Item Humfrey James doth owe vnto me 
xju ijs which I lent him oute of my purse. Item John 
flfarmer, of Broone, doth owe vnto me xl' for a cowe and 
a calfe. Item Hugh Hardwick, of Pattenham, doth 
owe vnto me xx> I lent him oute of my purse. Item 
Willm Pidge, of Plashe, doth owe vnto me Twentie 
shillinges which I lent him owte of my purse. Item John 
Mydleton, of Preene, doth owe vnto me Twentie shillinges, 
which I lent him oute of my purse. Item iiij heyfors of 
myne in the custodie of David lloyds, in the parrish of 
Manava, which I sett to him the first milk and calf. Item 
my will and entent is and I doe make and constitute 
Elizabeth my *wief my true and laufull executrix of this 
my last Will conteyned, to see me honestlie brought home, 
my funerall discharged, my debtes paid and Legacies 
paid which I have giuen and distributed to my foresaid 

"Theis being witnesses, John Pinches th'elder, Willm 
Pidge, and John Pinches the yonger, with others." 

Proved on 'August 25th, 1575, by the representative of 
the said Elizabeth, the relict and executrix. 


5* The History of Church Preen. 

(From the Prerogative Court of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, 33 " Pickering".) 

III. "Sir" John, vicar of Preen, whose will, in 1548, 
directs that he shall be buried in the chancel of the church 
(see p. 23). 

IV. Richard, and 
V. Ralph. 

The second son, William (page 48), was father of five 
sons : — I, William ; 2, Thomas ; 3, John ; 4, Francis ; and 5, 
Jasper ; the first two of whom, with their widowed mother, 
Elizabeth Corfield, gave evidence at the Hughley Com- 
mission in 1590. They were tenants, under an original 
lease, granted about 15 10 for eighty-one years, to their 
grandfather, John Corfield. The third son of William 
Corfield, John, was of Hughley, and he left the following 
will : — 

• "In Dei nom' Amen, ij"** die May anno dom' 1556. 
I John Corfylde of Hughlee within the Dioces of Hereford 
being of wholle mynde and in good and p'fytte remem- 
brance, laud and prayse be unto Almyghtie God, make and 
ordaine thys my present testam^ containing my last wylle 
in man'r and forme folowing that ys to say; Fyrst I 
comende my soule unto Almyghtie God my Maker and 
redeemer & my body to be buried in the church of Moche 

"Item I give & bequethe to the Mother Church of 
Hereford vj«^. Item I give and bequethe to William my son 
{my) best pane & pewter dyshe. Item, I give and bequethe 
to my sone RidhSird my second pane and pewter dyshe. 

The History of Church Preen. 53 

Item I bequethe to .... a pewter dyshe and to Alice 

Taylor a pewter dyshe. I 

" Item I give and bequethe to Thom' Taylor sone to j 

Thomas Taylor an HeyfTer of my \cow\ Item I give and 
bequethe to Elizabeth Corfylde iij* iiij*^. Item I give and 

bequethe to the church of Hughlee xvj^ a torch and two ' 

tapers. Item my wyll ys that I be brought honestlye home. \ 

And the residue of all my goodes not afore bequethed 
I put to the discretyon of Margaret my wyfe halfe takynge 
during her life and of this my present testament I make 
and ordene Thomas Corfylde and John Pinchesse myne 

ex[ecutors] this my last wyll and testament executed 1 

accordinglye. I 

" And I [hereby] revoke and adnulle all and every other 
former testaments, wylles, bequestes, and executors by « 

me in anye wayse before thys time made and named 

wylled and bequethed. These being Wytnesses Sir Rc^er j 

{Stringer)y p'son there, Thom' Heynes, Thomas Taylor, 
with others". 
/ (Taken from an office copy transcribed from the original 

- in the District Probate Registry at Hereford, and lent to 
me by Colonel Corfield.) , 

The Corfields remained at Hughley for two centuries ; 
indeed, some of the family are still to be found lingering . 

in the neighbourhood. < 

At Preen, the descendants of Thomas and William, the 1 

first and second sons of John Corfield of Longville and 
Chatwall, remained within the last fifty or sixty years. 

In the Herald^ Visitation of Surrey^ made in the year 
1662, is the following pedigree of the descendants of ^ 

54 The History of Church Preen. 

Richard Corfield, of Longville, a cadet branch of this 

family : — 

Richard Corfeild, of Longfield, in==:Frances, da. of Will : Doughty, 
Com' Salop. I of Bourton, in Com' Salop. 

George Corfeild, of S^ Savion.=Katheriney da. of Will : Smith, of 

Southwark, in Com* Surry g* 

Great Sanford, in Essex. 

John, son and heire, »t i8, Ano 1662. 

There are no arms registered with this pedigree ; indeed, 
it was not until the 22nd of September, 1897, that the 
armorial bearings long used by the Corfields were officially 
allowed. In the " Patent of Confirmation*' then issued to 
Colonel Frederick Channer Corfield, V.D., of Ormonde 
Fields, Codnor, and of Cardington, Shropshire, they are 
thus blazoned : — 

" Per chevron gules and argenty two escocheons in chief, 
of the last, each charged with a heart of the first, and an 
escocheon in base ermine^ thereon a like heart. Crest: — 
In front of a dexter cubit arm erect, holding two palm 
branches in saltire slipped proper, a heart guUs^ 

Motto: — "Serva Fidem'*, 

Elizabeth Price, who succeeded Richard Dickins (or 
more probably his father, John Dickins, of Leaton and 
Preen — see pages 45-6) — ^held the manor until her death in 
1759, when she bequeathed it to her sister, Sarah, the wife 
of John Windsor, of Harnage Grange, which latter place he 
had previously purchased from the Fowlers. John Windsor 
had been a solicitor in Shrewsbury. At the death (1794) 

The History of Church Preen. 55 

of Sarah Windsor, then of Shrewsbury, at the great age of 
ninety-one, the manor passed to her son, Edward Charles 
Windsor, and his two unmarried sisters, Sarah and Elizabeth, 
in equal shares. Eventually the elder sister, Sarah, became 
sole owner, and at her death, on the 26th February, 181 5, 
was succeeded by her nephew, Edward Charles Windsor, 
a captain in the army ; but he, having been killed at the 
battle of Waterloo, the estate passed to his only brother, 
John Windsor, who lived in the Prior's house until 1826, 
when he sold the manor to William Webster, of Ash- 
bourne, whose daughter Ellen he had married. 

In the Windsor family, including the time that Elizabeth 
Price held it, the Manor remained for a period of seventy- 
seven years. 

Mr. Webster's eldest son, the Rev. William Webster, 
was perpetual curate of Preen, and lived at the old house, 
but he never was owner of the property, as he died away 
from Preen a few months before his father. He left two 
sons, William Granville Webster, who died in 1846, and 
Frederick Taylor Webster, both of whom succeeded to 
the estate for a short time— but only for a short time — as 
in 1848 Frederick Taylor Webster sold the Manor to 
William Hanbury Sparrow, of Penn, Staffordshire, upon 

whose death, in 1867, it passed by the terms of his will to 
his youngest son, the writer. 

In the Webster family Preen remained twenty-two years 

It is to be noted that in 1820 John Windsor sold^ a 

^ He tried to sell the Manor as well The auctioneer's advertise- 
ment is given in Appendix B at page 131. 

56 The History of Church Preen. 

portion of the estate, consisting of an old Manor-house and 
two hundred and eighty acres of land to his tenant, Samuel 
Minton. This portion was bought back again from Mr. 
Minton's son in 1873, and restored to the estate after being 
in different hands for some fifty years. 

At this juncture I introduce the pedigree of 
pl^™^ my own family, for which I offer my apologies 
to the reader. As, however, I have devoted so 
much time and attention to the subject, I am naturally 
anxious to place the result of my labour on record. In the 
actual pedigree I have purposely omitted all reference to 
collaterals prior to the connection of the Sparrow family 
with Preen. 

First, as to the origin of the name of Sparrow. It appears 
that at the time of Donusday the Staffordshire manor of 
Weston, in the hundred of Pirehill, was held by a " Sperri". 
According to the view of Mr. John Amphlett, of Clent 
(February 1890), " he appears to have been transplanted to 
Weston from Lincolnshire ; or at least a ' Sperri' held land 
in that county in * Torp* and * Helmeswelle*. I believe some 
few favoured Saxons were so transplanted by William I, 
instead of being entirely dispersed''. Mr. Amphlett goes 
on to say : '* I know nothing more of the said ' Sperri', and 
of course it is mere conjecture that the Sparrys of Clent 
descend from this * Sperri*. Still, very early in Stafford- 
shire a crop of Sparrys is found, who clearly must have 
got their name from some one with this appellation ; and, 
curiously enough, in the east of England, in Norfolk and 
Suffolk, if not in Lincolnshire, there are families of 

pRiiEN Manor Houst.— View of South Anole. 
\Frant a raiiiliiis by Miis Edith SpatTow.) 

714^ History of Church Preen. 57 

Sparrows. I should certainly think that Sparry, Sparrow, 
Sparroy, and all the rest of the variations, were derived 
from a like source ; not necessarily from the same man, 
indeed — ^unless we assume that there was only one 
* Sperri* — but from the same name. Spelling goes for very 
little in genealogy ; each scribe suited his own fancy in the 
combination of letters he used to denote the sound that fell 
on his ears; and one or other of these combinations survived 
here or there from some chance circumstance. That it 
contained in itself an3rthing approaching correctness would 
probably have very little to do with its chance of survival." 

I quite coincide with the above remarks of Mr. Amphlett 
The Sparrow family still exists in Essex, and the well- 
known house at Ipswich called the "Sparrow's Nest", 
built in 1567 by Robert Sparrowe,^ still remains : no doubt 
all the Sparrows found in the south of England spring 
from this branch. In the fourteenth century there were 
Sparrys in Warwickshire. John Sparry, jun., of Warwick, 
and Lucy his wife, granted lands to Thomas de Wolver- 
dington in 1346 ; and in 1400 or thereabouts, John Sparry 
and Edith his wife were members of the ancient Guild of 
Coventry (see " Warwickshire Charters" in British Museum 
Harleian MS. 7505). 

In the Warwickshire Visitation^ 1619, a pedigree is 
given of a family of Sparry, at Broadhedley, in the parish 
of Northfield. 

I think it most probable that our branch of the Sparrow 
family sprang from the Weston " Sperri", who might also, 
as Mr. Amphlett says, have been the ancestor of the 

' Robert Span'owe was several times baiiiflfof Ipswich. 


58 The History of Church Preen. 

Spanys of Clent I have not been able to trace the con- 
nection of the two branches, but it seems to me that 
our ancestor, Thomas Sparry, of Audley, whose will was 
proved in 1549, might have been either a brother or 
cousin of Roger Sparry, of Clent, whose will was proved at 
Worcester in 1548. This Yiogtx had a grandson of the 
same name, and curiously enough Thomas Sparry's brother, 
James Sparrio, had also a son and grandson, both named 
R(^r. Roger is a somewhat uncommon name, and it seems 
strange that there should have been Roger Spanys living 
at the same time in the north and south of the county of 
Staflford, unless they were members of the same family. 

In the genealogical account of my family which follows, 
I have adopted a view which is not in accordance with the 
pedigree enrolled in the Heralds' College, the diflference 
being in the insertion of one more generation, viz. : John 
Sparry, baptised 1663, and making him the husband of 
Joanna Kettle, instead of the Sparry of the previous 
generation, baptised 1630. The difference between this 
account and the registered pedigree is shown in italics. 

Pedigree of Sparrow, compiled from the Records of the 
Heralds' Collie, Wills^ Parish Registers^ Family Papers 
and other evidences. 

Arms: Quarterly: first and fourth, per fesse azure 
and argent^ in chief three roses fessewise of the second, and 
in base an arrow palewise, point downwards, proper, for 
Sparrow ; second and third, or on a bend engrailed vert^ 
plain cottised sabU^ three bezants, for Hanbury. 

Crest: Out of the battlements of a tower argent^ a 
unicorn's head argent sem^ of pheons azure^ armed, maned, 
and tufted or. 

The History of Church Preen. 59 

Mottoes : ** In Deo solo salus est", and '' Pro patria, latria, 

The Hanbury crest, which we cannot inherit under the 
rules of English heraldry, is : On a wreath of the colours 
{or and vert) a mural crown sadle^ and issuant therefrom 
a demi-lion or^ charged on the shoulder with a trefoil 
slipped gules, and holding a battle-axe erect, blade to the 
dexter, also or; 

Sparroy, of Audley, Staffordshire, whose christian 

name has not yet been ascertained, was the father of two 

I. Thomas. 

11. James Sparrio, of Audley, m. Nov. 14th, 1555, 
Agnes Yardley, and d. June 1573, leaving issue 
(see page 58). Their descendants in Audley 
have been traced down to 1725. 

The elder son, 

Thomas Sparroy, of Audley, m. Agnes (who 

was buried. May 14th, 1554, as Agnes ''Sparry"), and d. 
August 1549, leaving a will which was proved 4th Oct 
following, by his brother James, on the resignation of the 
widow. This Thomas had issue two daughters, and an 
only son, 

John Sparrey, or Sparroy, of Audley ; bapt Feb. 2nd, 
1546 ; m. June 9th, 1588, Ellen Gybons (who was buried 
May 22nd, 1642) ; and d. July 1628. He was father of two 
sons, of whom the elder, 

John Sparro, of " Talk o' the Hill," in Audley, was 
bapt April 28th, 1593, and buried May 7th, 1641, leaving 

6o The History of Church Preen, 

by Alice his wife, who was buried at Wolstanton, Staflford- 
shire, Dec 21st, 1684, six sons and three daughters.- The 
eldest son, 

John Sparroy, of Audley, was bapt at Wolstanton, 
May 22nd, 1630, and buried at Audley, Dec. 9th, 1697. 
He had issue three sons and a daughter^ the eldest son being 

John Sparry ; bapt. at Audiey, March 21st, 1663, and 
was probably identiccU with the ^^ John Sparry* who was 
buried at Lawton^ Cheshire^ June 4ih^ 1730. He had married 
at Wolstanton, Dec. 27th, 1685, Joanna Kettle, widow (who 
was buried at Lawton, May 2nd, 1735), and by her had 
issue four sons and a daughter. The second son, 

John Sparrow, of Audley, bapt at Wolstanton, Sept 
22nd, 1689 ; m, at Audley, April 27th, 1712, Mary, dau. of 
Richard Booth of that parish, and had issue by her four 
sons and three daughters. This John Sparrow was prob- 
ably buried at Audley, Jan. 19th, 1773. His third son, 

William Sparrow, of Wolverhampton, b. at " Talk o' 
the Hill", Nov. 5th, 1726, and bapt at Audley parish 
church, August 2nd following ; m, at Sedgley, Staffordshire, 
August 1st, 1761, Elizabeth, dau. of William Allen, of 
Coseley, and Phcebe his wife, and was buried at St John's 
Church, Wolverhampton, April 27th, 1789. His wife was 
b. Nov. 5th, 1734, and was bapt at Sedgley 17th same 
month : she was buried with her husband, Dec. 7th, 1816- 
They had two daughters and an only son, 

William Sparrow, of Pattingham, Staffordshire ; b. at 
Wolverhampton, March ist, 1764, bapt there 16th same 
month; d Feb. lotb, 1834, and buried at St John's, Wolver- 
hampton, 1 5th same month. He was twice married ; first, 

The History of Church Preen. 6 1 

at St Peter's Church, Wolverhampton, March 2nd, 1788, to 
Mary, dau. of Thomas Hanbury,^ of Birmingham (who was 
buried at St John's, Wolverhampton, Oct i ith, 1819) ; and 
secondly, at Croydon, Surrey, August 25th, i82i,to Sarah, 
dau. of John Crowley, of Worcester. By his second mar- 
riage William Sparrow had no issue, but by his first wife 
he had eight sons and four daughters. The eldest son, 

William Hanbury Sparrow, of Penn, Staffordshire ; 
of Albrighton Hall, of Church Preen, and of Habberley, 
Shropshire, J.P. and D.L. for Staffordshire; b, Jan. 6th, 
1789, and bapt at Wolverhampton, Mar. 2nd following ; 
w. first, at Edgbaston, Warwickshire, Jan. 26th, 1811, to 
Caroline, dau. of Thomas Mander, of the parish of St 
Philip, Birmingham, and Elizabeth his wife (which Caro- 
line was bom Oct 19th, 1788, and bapt at St Mary's 
Church, Birmingham, Dec 17th following), and by her 
(who died Feb. 22nd, 1822, and was buried at St John's, 
Wolverhampton, 26th same month), he had issue — 

I. William Mander, of Albrighton Hall, J.P. and D.L. 
for Staffordshire (High Sheriff, 1873; and J.P. for Salop; 
b. Nov. 1 6th, 181 1, and bapt at Wolverhampton, Feb. i6th, 
1813; i». at West Derby, Lancashire, May 10th, 1848, 
Alice, dau. of Thomas Rogers, of Liverpool, and Flixton ; 
d. Feb. 9th, 1 88 1, without issue, and was buried at 

IL Robert, b. Aug. 26th, 1819, ^^^ t^^pt- at St John's, 
Wolverhampton, Sep. 17th following ; d, unmarried, Nov. 
22nd, 1843, and buried at St John's. 

^ See Hanbury Pedigree, Appendix £, p. 144. 

62 The History of Church Prun. 

I. Caroline; b, Dec. 20th, 181 2, and bapt at Wolver- 
hampton, Feb. 1 6th, 1813 ; m. at Penn, May 3rd, 1838, to 
John Horton, of Birmingham (who d. Aug. i6th, 1804, and 
was buried at Edgbaston) ; d. at Llandudno, and was 
buried with her husband at Edgbaston, leaving three 
sons and a daughter. 

II. Emma ; b, July 21st, 1814, and bapt at Wolverhamp- 
ton, Sept i6th following; m. at Penn, May 14th, 1846, to 
Thomas Henry Fowke, of Wolverhampton, Surgeon, who 
was born at Wolverhampton, Feb. 14th, 1804. There 
have been three sons and three daughters, issue of this 

IIL Louisa; b. July i6th, 1816, and bapt at Wolver- 
hampton, 31st same month; m. at Penn, 14th May, 1846, 
to George Gwynne Brown, of Stourport, Worcestershire, 
Surgeon (who was born April 29th, 18 10, and bapt at St 
Leonard's Church, Bridgnorth, May 2nd following); and 
by him had issue two sons and three daughters. She d. at 
Stourport, July 25th, 1859, and was buried at Penn 30th 
same month. Mr. Brown d. Mar. 5th, 1886, and was 
buried at Mitton, Worcestershire. 

IV. Mary Sophia; b. Mar. 15th, 18 18, and bapt at 
Wolverhampton, April 12th following; d. June nth in 
the same year, and was buried at St John's, Wolver- 

William Hanbury Sparrow married, secondly, at Sedgley, 
Aug. 23rd, 1824, Sarah Higgs (born July 30th, 1803, and 
bapt at Sedgley, June 28th, 1804), dau. of William Turton, 
of West Bromwich, Staffordshire, by Elizabeth his wife, 
dau. of Randle Walker, of Wolverhampton ; and by her 

The History of Church Preen. 63 

(who was buried at St John's Wolverhampton, Mar. 13th, 
1834) h^ issue, 

IIL Frederick Turton, of Habberley Hall ; b. Aug. 9th, 
1825, and bapt at Wolverhampton ; tn, at St. John's 
Church there, June isth, 1848, to Elizabeth (bom Aug. 
25th, 1825, and was bapt Oct, i829),dau.of Henry Crane, 
of Graiseley, and had issue — 

1. William Hanbury, b. Oct 27th, 185 1, and was bapt 

at St John's, Wolverhampton, Nov. 21st following; 
d. April 17th, 1852, and was buried there 21st 
same month. 

2. Frederick Henry, of Leamington, b. Jan. 6th, 1853, 

and was bapt at St John's, Wolverhampton, May 
6th following ; m. at Scarborough Parish Church, 
Oct 30th, 1872, to Elizabeth, only dau. of Sidney 
Flavel, of Leamington, and has issue — 
(tf) Frederick William Sidney, b, Aug. 13th, 
1873, and was bapt at St Mary's, Scar- 
borough, Sept 2 1st following. 
{V) William Henry, b. May 31st, 1876, and was 
bapt. at the same church, July i6th, 
(r) Charles, b. Oct 24th, 1877, and was bapt 

at the same church, Dec. 9th following. 
{d) Stuart Flood, b. Sept 6th, 1880, and was 
bapt at the same church, Oct loth 
if) Arthur John, b. May 12th, 1887, and was 
bapt at the same church, June i6th 

64 The History of Church Preen. 

(/) Frank, b. Aug. I2th, 1888, and was bapt 
at the same church, Sept 13th following; 
d, Aug. 2nd, 1889, and was buried at 
Milverton Cemetery, Warwickshire, Sth 
same month. 

{a) Ethel Elizabeth. 

1. Kate. 

2. Emily, buried at Penn, Jan. 14th, 1854. 

3. Helen, tn. Rev. E. Bowen, son of Canon Bowen. 

4. Lucy, m, Edward George. 

5. Ada. 

F. T. Sparrow d, March 29th, 1887, and was buried at 
Habberley, April ist following. 

IV. (youngest son) Arthur. 

V. Sarah Elizabeth, b, July 4th, 1828, and was bapt at 
Wolverhampton, Aug. 4th following; d. unmarried Aug. 
1 8th, 1867, and was buried at Penn. 

VI. Mary Anne, b, June 21st, 1829, and was bapt. at 
Wolverhampton, July 15th following; m, at Penn, Dec. 
4th, 1 85 1, the Rev. Canon David Mapleton (who d. May 
14th, 1 89 1, and was buried at Braceborough, Lincolnshire, 
20th same month). There were two sons and four daughters, 
issue of this marriage. 

VII. (youngest dau.) Harriette, b. Oct 6th, 183 1, and was 
bapt at Wolverhampton, Nov. 9th following ; d. unmarried 
Mar. 19th, 1888, and was buried at Penn, 23rd same 

William Hanbury Sparrow was on the roll for High 
Sheriff of Staffordshire for i860, but did not serve. He 


'*■ -i^ 


c ^ 

K^i .1 

^^H ;<''«', .V^^^^H 



^^^^^^^^Ft ■«9&^^^^| 

The History of Church Preen. 65 

d, Jan. 20th, 1867, and was buried at Penn. He was suc- 
ceeded in Preen estate by his youngest son, 

Arthur Sparrow, F.S.A.,* of Preen Manor, J,P., D.L., 
and (in 1886) High Sheriff for Shropshire, and J.P. for 
Staffordshire; b, Nov. 28th, 1826, and was bapt. at Wol- 
verhampton, Dec. 7th following ; m, at Eccles Old Church, 
Feb. 4th, 1851, Emma Ruth, dau. of William Gratrix, of 
Eccles, and has had issue — 

I. Arthur Gratrix, b, Dec. 22nd, 1851, and was bapt. at 
Penn, Jan. 25th following; d. May 2nd, 1852, and was 
buried there. 

II. Arthur William Hanbury, *. at Penn, April 8th, 1856; 
d. unmarried at Oxford (then of University College, and an 
undergraduate), Oct. 30th, 1878, and was buried at Church 

III. Cecil Blair, of Somerton Court, and of the Inner 
Temple, Barrister-at-Law, B.A. Oxon ; b. at Penn, June 
1 8th, 1859; f«. at St. Stephen's Church, Gloucester Road, 
Kensington, April isth, 1890, to Cara Mary, dau. of 
Charles Evan Thomas, of Gnoll Neath, by Caroline his 
wife, dau. of Henry Shepherd Pearson, and Caroline his 
wife, sister of Edmund, first Lord Lyons. Of this marriage 

' there has been issue — 

I. Arthur, b, at Gnoll Neath, Dec. 28th, 1892, and was 
bapt at Somerton, Feb. i6th following. 

1. Cara Cecil Audrey. 

2. Ruth Mary Angela, d. May 3rd, 1894, and was 

buried at Somerton, 7th same month. 

See In Memoriam notice at beginning of this book. — Ed. 


66 714^ History of Church Preen. 

IV. Alan Bertram Hanbury, B.A. Oxon; b. at Penn 
Feb. 23rd, 1863 ; «. at Folkestone Parish Church, May 
26th, 1 89 1, to Christina Annie Margaret, eldest dau. of 
Major-General Charles Joscelyn Cecil Sillery, late 12th 
(Suffolk) Regiment, by Christina, his wife, dau. of 
Archibald Smith, of Hobart Town, and has issue — 

1. Arthur Alan Hanbury, b. April ist, 1892, and was 

bapt. at Preen, June 8th, .1892. 

2. Brian Hanbury, b. Oct. 7th, 1896, and was bapt. 

at Tettenhall, Dec. 3rd following. 
I. Ruth Mai^aret Sillery. 

I. Edith. 

II. Amy, m. at Church Preen, April 28th, 1880, to 
Edward Lennox Peel, son of Charles Peel, of the Manor 
House, North Rode, and has issue five sons and two 

III. Ruth. 

My dear wife died, June 26th, 1888, age fifty-nine, and 
was buried at Preen, 29th same month. 

In the year 1870, the present owner decided 
upon enlarging and altering the old house at 
Preen, and the work was placed in the hands 
of Mr. R. Norman Shaw, R.A. Unfortunately, it was found 
impossible to retain any portion of the old work ; and, 
very much against the owner's wishes, the whole of the 
house was taken down and a new house erected upon the 
same site as the old one. It was found that only a small 
portion of the old house had been part of the original 

The History of Church Preen. 67 

Prior's house. The latter had been altered so many times 
that only one or two walls remained, of which the east wall 
was the principal. This wall was some 50 ft. in length and 
3 ft thick. In the north end, adjoining the church, there 
were an ancient window and an ancient doorway; the 
latter, evidently, had been the entrance to the Priory; 
both were entirely hidden by the Terrace, a modern erection 
built by one of the Windsors (see pages 54-5). 

The existing Manor house was completed on Mr. Shaw's 
designs in 1871. His drawing, giving a north-east view, 
was exhibited in the Royal Academy early in that year. 
It now hangs in my library. A photo-lithograph of this 
drawing was made by Whiteman and Bass, of London, 
and published in the Building News of August 1 1 th, 1 87 1 
(vol. xxi, 100), and the illustration given in this History^ 
with the permission of the proprietor, is taken from such 
lithograph. The following is also taken from the BuiUUng 
News at the same reference : — 

"Preen Manor House. 

"The Manor House of Preen, of which we this week 
give an illustration, lies between Shrewsbury and Much 
Wenlock, on the side of a valley which falls away grandly 
from the house, and rises on the opposite side, at a distance 
of about three miles, to the long, high o'idge known as 
Wenlock Edge. The house is on the site of a cell formerly 
in connection with Wenlock Abbey, and it was at first 
intended to incorporate portions of the old walls into the 
new building ; but they proved to be so entirely decayed 
that this was found to be impossible, and, though portions 

68 The History of Church Preen. 

of the new house occupy the same site as the old, no 
portions of the old walls exist 

''The parish church, to which the house is actually 
attached (and from which it gets the name of Church 
Preen), is of very startling proportions, being upwards of 
^o ft long by only 12 ft. wide, inside. It was carefully 
though plainly restored some four or five years ago. On 
the north side is the churchyard, raised on a high level, 
and chiefly remarkable for an extremely large old yew, 
unfortunately in a very decayed state. 

'' The approach to the house winds through a beautiful 
wood. The entrance-door is on a low level, and a wide 
stone stair leads up to the principal floor. On the ground- 
floor are the billiard-room, business-room, lavatories, and 
housekeeper's and butler's departments ; whilst in the rear, 
and on a slightly higher level (so as to suit the fall of the 
ground), arc the kitchens and offices connected there- 

" The principal floor contains a hall and staircase about 
35 ft. by 18 ft, from which enter the drawing-room and 
library. The large bay window in our illustration is on 
the north side of the drawing-room, and commands a fine 
view of a hanging wood adjoining ; whilst a corresponding 
bay to the south overlooks the flower gardens and more 
distant landscape. Corridors lead right and left from the 
centre hall, one to the dining-room (the three lofty windows 
of which are shown in our view), the other to a music- 
room of large size, chiefly lit by a window at one end, 
opening into a terrace about 200 ft long, from which 
magnificent views over the valley are obtained. The 

714^ History of Church Preen. 69 

kitchen garden is on one side of this terrace, and separated 
from it by the high wall, a bay or two of which is shown. 

" Numerous bed- and dressing-rooms occupy the upper 
floors, from nearly all of which fine views are obtained. 
The house is built of local stone, with dressings from the 
Longnor quarries. The gables and half-timbered work are 
of oak, and in parts are richly moulded. The chimneys 
are of cut and rubbed red brick, and, as may be inferred 
from the drawing, are enormous. The roofs are of red 
Staffordshire tiles. The house will have an ample water 
supply from a large reservoir, fed by springs, on the high 
land in the rear, and at a distance of about half a mile ; 
and it will be lit by gas from an apparatus placed down in 
the valley. The corridors, stairs, and principal rooms will 
be heated by hot-water coils, in addition to the open fire- 
places. There are extensive stables and outbuildings at 
the back, and a good range of greenhouses in the kitchen 
garden, a large fernery, and a conservatory. 

" The architect of the building is Mr. R. Norman Shaw, 
and the illustration, as given by us, is a photo-Iitho. repro- 
duction of Mr. Shaw's admirable drawing, which many 
of our readers no doubt saw this year at the Royal 

A window atthe end of the music-room opens out on to 
the terrace-garden, and the illustration in the present book, 
described as " Preen Manor House. — The Terrace Garden", 
is from a photograph taken from this window ; it shows 
Wenlock Edge in the distance. 

Before entrusting the work to Mr. Shaw, I had had plans 

70 The History of Church Preen. 

and drawings prepared by Mr. W. D. Griffin, of Wolver- 
hampton, an architect of considerable ability; but I was 
unfortunately obliged to give up the idea of restoration. 
One of Mr. Griffin's drawings is given in this book, and 
shows the way in which it was proposed to alter the old 
house. The three rooms between the church and the room 
at the south end, as well as the south end rGk)m itself, with 
the three lancets, were to have been retained, and new 
rooms built over them. The south end room was built by 
one of the Windsors " to match the church". The east wall 
was cut to pieces in making three large entrances into 
the cellars under the terrace ; and as it was considered 
unsafe, it was almost impossible to preserve it in the new 
building. In order to show these points, and to indicate 
how much required to be done to the ruined building, 
I have given illustrations of the old Manor House as it 
existed before 1870, as well as of the present house. The 
room built by the Windsors is shown in Mr. Griffin's 
drawing, on the reader's left, and the east end of the 
church on the right. • 

-.. The following is copied from •'Exchequer 

Hnghley Depositions by Commission", Hilary Term, 

CommissioiL ^^ Elizabeth, No. I {Public Record Office) :— 
" Interrogatoryes* to be mynystred one the parte and 

behalff of our Soveraig[«^] Ladie the Quenes Ma*^« against 

^ Queen Elizabeth's object appears to have been to prove that the 
Priory of Preen was independent of Wenlock, and that the Prior of 
Wenlock had no right to sell it to Coverte in 1536, three years before 
the dissolution of Wenlock. 

The History of Church Preen. 7 1 

William Dickyns, gent, Richard Dickyns and William 
Stevens, Def^. 

" I. Imprimis whether doe you knowe the sayde DeP« or 
any of them. 

" 2. Item whether did you knowe the pryorye of Prene in 
the Countie of Salopp and the Mannor or lordshippe of 
Prene in the same Countie, And did you knowe any the 
Prior or Priors of the saide Priorie, And how many Priors 
have you knowne there, And what was his or their name 
or names as you remember or have harde. 

" 3. It'm whether doe you knowe or have you harde that 
the sayde Mannor of Prene^ was parcell of the possessions 
of the saide Priorie of Prene and soe contynued vntyll the 
dissoluc'on of the same Priorie. 

" 4. Item whether were the Prioi-s of Prene removeable att 
the will of the Prior of Wenlocke or of any other, or did 
you knowe or have you credibly harde that any of them 
have byne removed from his sayde Priory of Prene, And 
any other putt in his place to be Pryor there duringe the 
lieff of hym that was soe removed, and yf you have, then 
when and for what cause was he or they soe removed, and 
by whom as you knowe or have credibly harde. 

" 5. It'm was the Prior of Prene knoWen to be lorde and 
owner of the Mannor or Lordshippe of Prene, with 
th'appurtenaunces, and of all landes and hereditamentes in 
Prene as in right of the Priory of Prene, And whether was 
he soe commonly knowen taken and accepted to be lorde 
and owner thereof. 

The question appears to have been whether the Manor of Preen 
belonged to the Prior of Preen, or was a distinct property. 

72 The History of Church Preen. 

" 6. It'm doe you knowe that one John Castell was Prior 
of the sayd Priory and soe contynued Prior vntyll the 
suppression or puttinge downe of the sayde Priory, and 
was he seized thereof duringe all the same tyme as in the 
right of his sayde Priory of the sayde Mannor or Lord- 
shippe of Prene and of all other the sayde landes and 
hereditamentes in Prene ; or howe long tyme to your 
knowledge was the sayde John Castell Prior of the sayde 
Priorie, and seised of the sayde Mannor as in the right of 
his sayde Priory : And after his departure or pUttinge awaye, 
who was then lorde of the sayde Mannor or to whom did 
the tenauntes then of the sayde Mannor paye theyr Rentes 
and services to your knowledge or as you have harde. 

" 7. It'm whether did not the sa[/d5p] Prior of Prene, after 
such tyme as the Prior of Wenlocke suffred a Recovery of 
the sayde Mannor of Prene or had conveyed the same 
awaye, goe aboute to complayne of the wronge doen to 
hym by the sayde Recovery or Conveyance, and whether 
was he not compounded and agreede withall for his right 
and estate in the sayde Mannor or lordshippe, And yf he 
were, then what was the Composic'on as you knowe or have 
credibly harde, And where did the same Castell contynew 
and dwell after his departure from his Priory of Prene 
vntyll his death to your knowledge or as you have 
harde saye. 

" 8. It'm what have you harde the Prior of Prene saye 
and confesse of his owne estate in the sayde landes. 

" 9. It'm whether was the Prior of Wenlocke att any 
tyme knowen or reputed to be lorde of the saide Mannor 
of Prene or to graunte any leases or to take any proffittes 

" * 

3 3 

The History of Church Preen. 73 

of any landes in Prene att any tyme duringe your know- 

" 10. It'm dyd you knowe that the sayde John Castell 
and other his predecessors have kepte Courtes att Prene 
and have graunted leases vnder his or theyr seale or scales 
some for lyves, some for yeares, some by Indenture and 
some by Coppie. 

" 1 1. It'm to whome doe you knowe that he or they 
graunted any such leases or Copies and in whose costody 
are the same leases or Copies now remayninge to your 
knowledg or as you have harde. 

" 12. It'm whether did the same Castell or any other* 
beinge Prior of Prene att any tyme make any accoumpt 
\ar\ Accoumptes to the Prior of Wenlocke for any Rentes 
or proffitt of any landes or Tythes in Prene. 

" 13. It'm whether doe you knowe or have you harde 
any other matter or thinge that proveth the sayde John 
Castell, or any of his predecessors, Priors of Prene, to be 
4ordes or owners of the sayde Mannor of Prene or of any 
parte thereof, or doe you knowe or have you credibly 
harde any other matter or thinge that proveth the Quene's 
Maiestie's tytle or interest of in or to the sayde Mannor 
or of in or to any parte or parcell thereof. 

" Interrogatories mynistred on her Ma^»«s behalf, pi', 
against William Dickins, gent, Richard Dyckins, 
gent, and William Stevens, def^« for th'examyna- 
c'on of the Tenauntes of the Mannour or lordshipe 
of Prene. 

I. Item whether doe you knowe or have you harde 

74 The History of Church Preen. 

that John Castell late pryor of Preen or any other his 
predecessors pryors there did or vsed at any tymc to 
graunte leases in writinge vnder their seales to any person 
or persons either for lyfe or for yeares or by Copie of 
Courte rowle of any parte or parcell of the Mannor or 
lordshippe of Preen. And if he or they or any of them soe 
did, to what person or persons was the same demyse lease 
or Copy soe made to your knowledge or as you have 

•*2. It'm whether did you ever see any suche lease 
graunt or Copy made by the said Pryor or any his pre- 
decessors pryors of Preen or any wrytinges mencyoninge 
the same. And if you did whether is the same writinge 
leases or Copies or any of them in your costody or pos- 
session, or in whose custody or possession the same or any 
of them are to your knowledge or as you verely thinke. 

"3. It'm whether doe you knowe or haue you harde 
that the same leases grauntes or copies or any of them 
were delyuered either to the handes or possession of the 
said William Dyckyns or to any other person or persons 
to his vse or by his commaundement or request: And 
about what tyme were the same leases grauntes or Copies 
delyvered, to your knowledge or as you haue harde 

"4. It'm whether did you knowe William Mydleton, 
Fulke Mydleton, Robert Weaver, Edward Parsons, Thomas 
Parsons, Edward Whycke, John Corfeld, William Corfeld, 
Thomas Hodgkys, Roger Hodgkys, Edmond Haynes, and 
John Oxenbold deceased late dwellinge in Preene and late 
tenauntes to the last pryor of Preene : And how many of 
them did you knowe. And if you did knowe any of them. 

The History of Church Preen. 75 

what leases or Copies had they or any of them of any 
landes or heredytamentes in Preene to your knowledge or 
as you have hard. And yf they had whether the Pryor of 
Preene graunted the same, And for what terme were the 
same leases or Copies graunted. And whether were any 
leases or Copies graunted of any landes or heredytamentes 
in Preen aforsayd by any other person or persons but only 
by the Pryor of Preene and in his name at any tyme before , 
the same Pryory was suppressed and put downe : yf there 
were who graunted the same leases and Copies, and to 
whom were they graunted to your knowledge or as you 
have harde. ^ 

'' 5. Item whether did not the same John Castell con- 
tynew Pryor and Lorde of the sayd Mannor or lordshipp 
of Prene vntyll the puttinge downe of the same Priory. 

'*6. It'm whether do you knowe or have you harde anie 
other matter or thinge that proveth the said John Castle or 
anie of his predecessours priors of Prene to be lordes or 
owners of the said Mannour of Prene, or of anie parte 
therof, or do you knowe or have you credyblie harde anie 
other matter or thinge that proveth the Quene's Ma^»« tytle 
or Interest of in or to the said Mannour or of in or to anie 
parte or parcel 1 therof." 

The evidence given at the Hughley Commission (in 
answer to these two sets of Interrogatories) by the various 
witnesses was very voluminous and in many cases of a 
similar character: it is proposed, therefore, to give an 
abstract only of the evidence of each witness ; and in some 
instances the language is varied for the sake of simplicity, 
withouti however, altering the meaning. 

76 The History of Church Preen. 

Why the Commission should have been held at Hughley 
instead of at Preen it is impossible to say. There seems 
no reason for it, as the parishes adjoin ; and no greater 
influence could have been brought to bear upon the witnes- 
ses had it been held at Preen instead of Hughley. 

There were eleven witnesses for the Crown, whose united 
ages amounted to eight hundred and ninety-three years, 
or an average of a little more than eighty-one years 

The following is a digest of their evidence : — 

A. Charles Smythe, of Plaish (within a mile of the 
Priory, where he was born and had dwelt " all the days 
of his life"), aged seventy-eight, says : " that Don John Castle 
was Prior for the space of ten^ years together, or there- 
abouts" . . . . " That after the departure of the said Castle 
from Preen he dwelled at Dudley and (Monk) Hopton 
till he died (September 1544)." .... "That shortly after 
the said Castle was put forth of the said Priory, and 
that the said Covert had entered, the said Castle accom- 
panied by this deponent's father, went to London to 
complain of the wrong done unto him by the said Covert 
therein, and thereupon the said Covert, as this deponent's 
father reported, after a conference had, gave him the said 
Castle some yearly annuity, but what the same for certain 
was or for what term he knoweth not ; and that he did 
see a writing under seal for the payment of the said 

B. William Corfeilde, of Chatwall, yeoman, aged seventy- 

^ Twenty according to Thomas Smythe (see " I '' on page 80). 

The History of Church Preen. 77 

eight, says : " that he doth not know that the said John 
Castle kept any Courts in the said Manor, but knoweth 
that he made divers leases to divers persons of divers 
parcels of land, parcel of the said manor, among the rest 
one lease to one John Corfelde, this deponent's uncle, for 
the term of 80 years or thereabouts". 

C. Thomas Weyver, of Gretton Court, yeoman, aged 
eighty-two, says : " that he knoweth the said John Castle 
was Prior of the said Priory for the space of about 30 
years, and until the dissolution of the same Priory, and 
during all the said time was seized of the same Priory and of 
the said Manor or Lordship as of right of his Priory" .... 
*' That the said Castle granted a lease under his seal of part 
of the Priory House and demesne lands to one Robert 
Weaver this deponent s father, and did reserve to himself 
so much ground as did suffice to keep 7 kine or there- 
abouts" .... "That he knoweth not that the Prior of 
Preen made any accompt or was accomptable to the 
Prior of Wenlock for any part of the rents or profits of 
any lands of the Lordship or Manor of Preen". 

D. Robert Shervington, alias Eyer, of Wylley, co. Salop, 
yeoman, aged 80, says : " he hath known the Priory and 

Lordship of Preen for the space of 60 years That 

the said John Castle was possessed as in right of the Priory 
of the said Manor or Lordship of Preen". 

E. Hugh Samson, alias Cornishe of Much Wenlock, 
aged ninety, says : " that John Castle was Prior of the said 
Priory until the dissolution thereof, being for the space of 
40 years or thereabouts, and that during all that time he 
was seized or possessed of the said lordship or manor" .... 

78 The History of Church Preen. 

** That he doth not know nor hath heard that the Prior of 
Wenlock was reputed to be lord or owner or to take any 
profits of the said Manor of Preen, or that he made any 
leases of any of the lands ot the said manor'' ....*' That 
the Prior of Wenlock did place one of his monks at Sand- 
well, one other at Dudley and one at Preen to serve 
in those several places, and that they were thereupon 
called Priors, and that the three Priories were cells unto 

¥. Rondle or Randle Massy, of Much Wenlock, clerk, 
aged seventy, says : '* that after the Priors of Preen were 
placed the Prior of Wenlock could not remove any Prior 

there" " That the Prior of Preen was lord & owner 

of the Priory Manor & lordship of Preen in right of his 
Priory in such sort as the Prior of Wenlock was of his 
Priory of Wenlock & the lands thereunto belonging" 

" That John Castle was Prior of Preen & continued 

Prior thereof until the dissolution of the same Priory being 
about 3 years before the dissolution of the Priory of Wen- 
lock ; & that during that time he was seized of the said 
Manor or lordship of Preene."^ 

^ The dissolution of Wenlock took place 1540 (see Eyiok). One of 
the witnesses states that Castle remained at Preen until Coverte canie 
into possession, 1536. In 1534 the King's Commissioners recovered 
the Manor of Preen against John, Prior of Wenlock ; but this does 
not appear to have led to any result, or it might refer to only a 
portion (see p. 30). Preen was granted by Richard Coverte, or 
Katherine his wife, to Humphrey Dickins 1 560, and was held by the 
Coverte family twenty-four years. The grant of Wenlock Abbey to 
Augustine de Augustinis was 1546, while the date of the Commission 
s 1590. 

The History of Church Preen. 79 

G. William Monyce, of Lushcott, yeoman, aged seventy, 
says : " that the Manor or Lordship of Preen was parcel of 
the Priory of Preen, and that the said Prior did at his 
pleasure take lands, parcel of the said Manor, from one man 

& lease or set them to another" "That after the 

departure of the said John Castle one Mr. Coverte was lord 
and owner of the said Manor as he hath heard by credible 
report & he 'verily believeth the same to be true, for that 
shortly after the departure of the said Prior or suppression 
of the said Priory the said Mr. Coverte offered to sell the 
said Manor to one Robert Weaver (as he hath heard it 
reported by the said Weaver as by other common report in 
the country), and that after the suppression or dissolution 
the tenants paid their rents to Coverte" . . . . " That after 
the dissolution & the entry of the said Coverte the said 
John Castle went immediately to Dudley & there continued 
until the dissolution of the Priory of Dudley & thence came 
to Monk Hopton where he served as Curate until his 

death" ** That he hath heard the said Priory was 

founded & was given to three to be a house of prayer of 
the Order of St. John the Baptist & saith that he saw the 
picture of a head called the head of St John the Baptist in 
the church or Priory of Preen, where the same continued 
& was offered unto, until the dissolution of the said Priory 
& hath heard by credible report that the said John Castle 
had a common seal whereupon was engraved the picture 
of the said head of St. John, wherewith he sealed the 
writings or leases made of such lands as he granted which 
wcrf parcel of the said Manor or Lordship of Preen." 

H. Katherine Lewys, of Hughley, widow, " aged five score 

8o The History of Church Preen. 

years or thereabouts", says : " that the Priors of Preen 
were not removable by the Priors of Wenlock, for he which 
was once placed Prior of Preen was so to continue during 
his life." 

I. Thomas Sm}^he, of Enchmarsh, yeoman, aged ninety- 
four, who was brother of the first witness, Charles Sm}^he, 
of Plaish, says : " that he did know one Cambridge to be 
Prior of the said Priory of Preen for the space of about 
7 years & after him Don John Castle for the space of and 

above 20 years" "That the Priors during all that 

time did set the lands belonging to the said Priory" 

'^ That the said Don John Castle continued Prior until the 
dissolution of the said Priory, which was about 3 years 
before the dissolution of Wenlock ; & saith that after the 
departure of Don John Castle one Hugh Lea was tenant of 
the said capital messuage or Priory House with some of 
the lands thereto belonging, but whether he was tenant of 
the King or of Coverte he knoweth not & the tenants 
of the said Manor paid the rents to one Foulk Myddleton, 
bailiff of the said Manor, but to whose use he knoweth not". 

" That after the suppression of the said Priory & 

the putting out of the said Castle, he, the said Don John 
Castle went to London in company with this examinate's 
father to complain of the wrong to him done & obtained 
an annuity of four marks or three pounds by the year 
during his life and immediately afterwards the said Don 

John was placed in the Priory of Dudley" " That he 

doth know that Don John Castle did keep Courts in & for 
the said Manor of Preen as lord of the Manor in right of 
his Priory & that he granted divers lands in Preen to the 

The History of Church Preen. 8 1 

tenants there, but whether the same were by copies or 
leases by indentures he proveth not nor in whose custodies 
the same leases or copies do remain." 

J. Katherine Persons, of Chatwall, widow, aged eighty, 
says : ** that Don John Castle being Prior gave unto John 
Myddleton in preferment of a marriage with a maid- 
servant of his the said Prior a house or tenement & lands 
in Preen, now in the tenure of one John Myddleton without 
paying any rent for the same during the life of the 
Prior's said servant & after her decease for the yearly rent 
of seventeen shillings to be paid to the said Prior and saith 
that during the life of the said John Myddleton's wife the 
same John enjoyed the said messuage by virtue of the 
same grant without paying any rent & after the decease of 
his said wife for the said yearly rent" . . . . " That after 
the departure of the said Prior the tenants paid the rents 
to one Mr. Dickyns as she thinketh." 

K. Richard Fletcher, of the parish of Kenley, aged 
seventy-one says : " he doth know that the Prior of Preen 
for the time being was lord & owner of the Manor or lord- 
ship of Preen." " That Don John Castle was Prior 

of the said Priory of Preen & so continued until the disso- 
lution which was about 55 years past & about 3 years 
before the dissolution of the Priory of Wenlock, and during 
all that time was seized of the said Manor of Preen as in 
right of the same Priory of Preen," .... "That he 
thinketh in his conscience that the Prior of Preen had as 
good title to the Manor or lordship of Preen during the 
time of being Prior as the Prior of Wenlock had in the 
Manors belonging to the said Priory of Wenlock." 


82 The History of Church Preen. 

All these eleven witnesses lived within three or four miles 
of Preen. Two of them were brothers, Charles Smythe and 
Thomas Smythe. Two were women, Katherine Lewys, 
^ed 100, and Katherine Persons, aged 80, both widows. 
William Corfeilde was related to the tenants of that name 
at Preen.^ Thomas Weyver was a son of the Robert 
Weaver who at one period occupied a portion of Preen 
Priory House. 

Two of the witnesses were Wenlock men : Hugh 
Samson a/ias Comishe, and Rondle, or Randle, Massy, 
clerk. The latter may have been Vicar of Wenlock. 

The evidence of the witnesses was intended to show that 
the manor and lordship of Preen was part and parcel of 
the possessions of the Priory of Preen, and that the 
Priors of Preen after their appointment were not remov- 
able by the Prior of Wenlock, and that they dealt with the 
land quite independently of him ; that they granted leases 
and removed tenants at their pleasure. 

Coverte appears, with or without the connivance of the 
Prior of Preen, to have bought the manor from the Prior of 
Wenlock, who seems to have claimed the right to deal with 
it, and to have sold it three years before the dissolution of 

The object of the Queen's Commission was to show that 
the Prior of Wenlock had no right whatever to deal with 
the Priory of Preen. Some of the witnesses say that the 
Prior of Preen had a convent seal with which he sealed the 
leases ; and one of them, William Morryce, of Lushcott, 
as already stated in the summary of the evidence, de- 

^ Sec p. 47. 

— «r- • — - - - ^'~ 

The History of Church Preen. 83 

scribes it as a ''common seal", engraved with the head 
of St John the Baptist. It is important to notice 
that, according to the evidence of Hugh Samson, of 
Much Wenlock, the Prior of Wenlock placed monks 
at Sandwell, Dudley, and Preen ; and that, though they 
were called Priors, their priories were regarded as " cells " 
to Wenlock. 

Ten witnesses were examined on behalf of the tenants, 
whose united ages were five hundred and three years, or an 
average of some fifty each. All the witnesses were tenants 
of Preen, except Alice Wylde, of Chatwall, and William 
Persons, curate of Preen. 

L. Elizabeth Corfeilde,^ one of the tenants, a widow aged 
sixty, says : '' John Castle being Prior of Preen made leases 
of lands in Preen, and amongst other lands granted a 
lease in writing to one John Corfeld this examinate's father- 
in-law, and to his wife and their assigns of one messuage or 
tenement and lands in Preen now in the occupation of this 

examinate for the term of 81 years That she saw 

the said lease under seal, and that her said father-in-law, 
mother-in-law, and one William Corfeld, this examinate's 
late husband by virtue of the said lease enjoyed the said 
messuage or tenement and lands until after the decease of 
this examinate*s husband. That she the said examinate 
about 8 years past by counsel of her friends surrendered 
the same and took a new lease. That she delivered the 
said lease to her brother Richard Ball, of Burton and 
thinketh he hath the same". 

M. Thomas Corfelde,* of Preen, yeoman, aged thirty-five, 

1 See page 52. 

84 The History of Church Preen. 

says : ^ he hath seen divers leases indentures and Copies 
granted by Don John Castle and his predecessors, that is to 
say, one granted to the grandfather or father of John 
Myddleton now tenant there of all that messuage or tene- 
ment now or late in the occupation of the said John Myddle- 
ton, and one other Indenture made by the said Prior for four 
score and one years to one John Corfeld and Johan his 
wife of all that messuage or tenement with the appurten- 
ances (being parcel of the said Manor) now in the occu- 
pation of William Corfelde or his assigns, S^ one Indenture 
made by the said Prior of one messuage or tenement to 
one Myddleton & and now in the tenure of one Roger 
Merington, and one copy of Court Roll granted by one 
Cambridge, a Prior of Preen, predecessor unto the said 
Don John Castle as this deponent thinketh» unto one 
Myddleton or Whycke of one messuage or tenement with 
appurtenances in Preen, now in the tenure or occupation of 
Thomas Whycke & William Myddleton ; one other copy of 
Court Roll made by the said Prior unto one Hotchekys of 
one messuage or tenement now in the tenure or occupation 
of Thomas Bromfelde and Johan Hotchekys or their 
assigns ; and one other copy of Court Roll made by the 
said Prior as he remembreth to one Edmond Heynes of all 
that messuage or tenement in Preen now in the tenure of 
Richard Cowper ; and one other copy of Court Roll made 
by the said Prior Don John Castle unto one Whycke of 
all that messuage or tenement in Preen, now in the tenure 
of the said Thomas Whycke ;^ and one other copy of Court 

See paragraph N on next page. 

The History of Church Preen. 85 

Rell granted by the said Don John to one Myddleton^ of 
all that messuage or tenement in Preen, now in the occu- 
pation of the said William Myddleton or his assigns". 

This witness also says : *' that he hath heard it credibly 
reported that since the suit commenced on her Majesty's 
behalf divers of the said leases and copies were delivered to 
the defendant William Dyckins by some of his tenants, 
at his (Dyckins's) request .... He does not know of any 
leases granted at Preen before the Dissolution, except by 
the Priors He hath seen and read a writing purport- 
ing to be a Release by the said Don John Castle unto or to 
the use of one Coverte of all the right of the said Don John 
in and to the Manor or Lordship of Preen aforesaid". 

N. Thomas Whycke, one of the tenants of the Lordship 
of Preen, aged forty-six, says: "that Don John Castle 
granted unto Edward Whycke this examinate's father the 
moiety^ of one messuage and lands in Preen in the tenure 
of this Deponent by copy of C<mrt Roll of the Manor or 
Lordship of Preen for the term of three score and one 
years". ....*' He gave up the lease to defendant William 

o. William Corfeilde,* one of the tenants of Preen, aged 
thirty, says : " that he hath hard by report that Don John 
Castle, Prior of Preen, granted divers leases in writing to 
sundry persons of lands in Preen, and saith that he hath 
seen and read part of some of the same leases, that is to 

^ tlie grant was to Richard Myddleton and Alice his wife for eighty- 
one years. 
' The other moiety was granted to Myddleton. 
' See page 52. 

86 • The History of Church Preen. 

say one lease under seal of the tenement and lands in the 
possession of this examinate made to John Corfeld^ and 
Johan his wife for term of many years ; and one other 
lease by indenture under seal to one Myddleton of one 
other tenement and lands in Preen". . . . ''And one other 
indenture of a tenement and lands granted to one 
Myddleton as he thinketh now in the possession of Hugh 
Lawe or his assign (evidently the same person as Hugh 
Lea mentioned by Thomas Smythe of Enchmarsh on 
page 80); and one other lease by indenture made to 
one Persons, of a tenement and lands in Preen, whereof 
some part is now in the tenure of one Richard Persons, 
and further saith that he hath seen two other copies as 
he thinketh g^ranted by some Prior of Preen to one 

Whycke and Persons He hath heard by report 

that some leases were delivered to the same William 

Dyckins since this suit commenced That he knew 

William Myddleton, Edward Persons, Thomas Persons, 
Edward Whycke, William Corfeilde and Thomas Hotche- 
kys, tenants of Don John Castle That the tene- 
ments and lands granted by the leases were enjoyed by 
force of the same leases for many years .... That he hath 
seen a writing purporting to be a release made by the said 
Don John Castle to the use of one Coverte of all his rights 
in or to the Manor or Lordship of Preen". 

p. Johan Hotchekys, one of the tenants, aged sixty, says : 
** that Roger Hotchekys her father-in-law took a copy* of 
the tenement and lands wherein this deponent and her son- 

^ See page 48. ' /.«., Copy Court Roll, 

— i 

The History of Church Preen, 87 

in-law now dwell, for 61 years and enjoyed the same by 
virtue of the said copy until about 1 2 years back when 
they took new estates thereof of one of the defendants". 

Q. William Myddleton, one of the under-tenants of 
Preen, aged sixty-eight, says : '' that Don John Castle made 
leases to all or the most part of the tenants of Preen, which 
leases were enjoyed accordingly and namely one copy^ of 
the tenement and lands wherein this deponent dwelleth to 
one Richard Myddleton and Alice his wife for a term of 

four score and one years He doth know all the 

persons named, except John Oxenbold, were tenants of 
Don John Castle .... and enjoyed the same ever since, 
except some of them lately took new leases of the Defen- 
dant William Dyckins That Don John Castle did 

receive the rents of the tenants of Preen until the disso- 
lution of the said Priory of Preen, as he verily thinketh". 

R. John Myddleton, one of the tenants, aged sixty, a 
godson of Don John Castle, says : '' that Castle granted a 
lease for sixty-one years to his father, William Myddleton, 
.... delivered his old lease up to William Dyckins the 
defendant He knew all the persons named in the fourth 
Interrogatory (see p. 74), and that they were tenants to 
the last Prior, some by indenture and some by copy, which 
they enjoyed until within twelve years past. That some 
of the same were surrendered .... and that he never 
knew any other but the Prior of Preen made lease before 
the Dissolution .... That John Castle continued Prior 
until the dissolution .... there dwelling." 

s. Richard Persons, one of the tenants, aged thirty-six, 

* /.^., Copy Court Roll. 


88 The History of Church Preen. 

says : ^ he hath seen leases, one of which, in his own posses- 
sion, of a tenement and lands in Preen, expired about six 
years past, and that the said tenement and lands were 
enjoyed by force of the said indenture until about eight 
years past . . . That he, having five years in the^old lease 
unexpired, surrendered the same to the defendant, Richard 
Dyckins, and took a new lease for a longer term*'. 

T. Alice Wylde, of the township of Chatwall, wife of 
Nicholas Wylde, aged sixty-four, says: " that she hath heard 
her grandfather and father say that the Manor or Lordship 
of Preen was parcel of the possessions of the Prior of Preen. 
That she hath heard that the Prior of Preen was not 
removable by any Prior of Wenlock, or that the Prior of 
Wenlock had an)^ing to do with the Prior of Preen. . . . 
The Prior of Preen was Lord and owner of the Manor or 
Lordship of Preen and of all lands thereunto belonging. 
.... That after the putting down of the said Priory, one 

Mr. Coverte was lord, and received the rents That 

she hath heard that the said Don John Castle, Prior of 
Preen, and his predecessors have kept courts in and for the 
Manor or Lordship of Preen .... That she hath never 
heard that any Prior of Preen made any accompt or was 
accomptable to any Prior of Wenlock for the rents or 
profits of any lands or tenements in Preen. That she 
hath heard by her father and grandfather that the Priory 
of Preen was given or founded by three men, namely, by 
one Burnell, Cawtrope,^ then Prior of Wenlock, and one 
Geerse, to be a house of prayer." 

^ I have consulted Dugdale's Monasticon^ and I cannot find the 
name of Cawtrope in the list of Priors. Had it been there, I should 

1* - «.« 1 

s * 

The History of Church Preen, 89 

U. William Persons, curate of Preen, aged forty-four, 
who was probably a brother of Richard Persons, one of the 
tenants who gave evidence, and a son of the Persons to 
whom a lease had been granted by Castle, says : " that he 
doth neither know nor hath heard that the Prior of Preen 
was removable or to be removed by the Prior of Wenlock. 
. ... He hath heard, as is aforesaid, that the Prior of 
Preen was Lord of Preen, and known and reputed to be 
lord and owner of the Manor or Lordship of Preen, and of 
all lands in Preen as in right of the same Priory of Preen. 
.... That he hath likewise heard that the said Don John 
Castle continued seized of the said Manor as in right of his 
Priory, until the dissolution or putting down of the said 
Priory ; and that after the same suppression one Giles 
Coverte was lord of the said Manor and received the rents 
of the tenants there. .... That he hath likewise heard by 
the credible report of ancient men that the said Don John 
Castle and others the Priors of Preen have kept courts in and 
for the said Manor and granted leases and copies to divers 
persons under their hands and seals of lands and tenements 
in Preen, of which he hath seen one Indenture granted by 
the said Don John Castle unto one Persons, of the tenements 
and lands in Preen, now in the tenure of Thomas Corfelde 
or his assigns for term of years, which was enjoyed by 
virtue of the same Indenture until about eight years past. 
That the same was surrendered and a new one taken for 
twenty-one years, at which time there remained unexpired 
in the old lease the term of five years or thereabouts. 

have been able to give some idea of the date of the foundation of 
Preen Priory. 


90 The History of Church Preen. 

He hath also seen one copy granted by the said Prior 
of die tenements and lands in Preen, now in the posses- 
sion of one John Hotchekys for many years, by force 
whereof the said tenement was enjoyed till the expiration 
of the years in the said copy which determined about 
twelve months or more past He hath also seen one 
other copy made by the same Prior of the tenements and 
lanes now in the tenure of Richard Cowper for the like 
term, by virtue of which copy the same tenement was 
enjoyed till the expiration of the term in the same copy, 
which likewise determined about twelve months past He 
hath also seen one other copy granted by the same Prior 
for the term of four score and one years of the tenement 
and lands in the tenure of William Myddleton or his 
assigns, which tenement and lands have been and yet are 
enjoyed by virtue of tfie same copy." 

The evidence of the tenants goes to corroborate the 
evidence of the witnesses for the Crown, viz., that the Prior 
of Preen granted leases to the tenants in his own name, 
and was in fact the landlord. The leases were for a long 
term of years, most of them for eighty-one years. I have 
shown that the tenants also said that some eight or twelve 
years before the expiration of the term the tenants gave up 
their leases to Richard Dyckins and took new ones. The 
tenants' evidence proves that all the leases were sealed 
with the seal of the Prior of Preen. 

There were nineteen witnesses examined on behalf of 
the defendant ; of these, four, viz., Thomas Corfelde, 
William Corfeilde of Preen, Thomas Whycke and John 
Myddleton, were tenants who had been examined pre- 

The History of Church Preen. g f 

viously ; and of the remaining fifteen, three, viz., Rondle, or 
Randle, Massy, Hugh Samson, alias Cornishe, and Alice 
Wylde, had been previously examined on behalf of the 

The united ages of the nineteen were 1,288, or an 
average of nearly sixty-eight years each. 

Four were Preen tenants (one yeoman, two husbandmen, 
and one unnamed), six were Wenlock men (one parson, 
one tanner, one weaver, one husbandman, one labourer, 
and one unnamed), two were Burton, or Bourton, men 
(husbandmen), one was a Kenley man (labourer), three 
were Hugbley men (two husbandmen and one unnamed), 
one was a Presthope man (husbandman), one was a 
Brockton man (unnamed), and one was a Chatwall woman. 

V. Rondle, or Randle, Massy (previously examined for 
the Crown ; see F on p. 78), says : " that he doth know one 
cell, capital messuage, or mansion house in Preen wherein 
one monk did dwell and continue .... That he doth 
know that the Prior of Wenlock did place, name, prefer 
and appoint one Don John Castle, who was a monk of the 
said Priory of Much Wenlock, to celebrate service, sacra- 
ments and prayers then used at Preen aforesaid, and to 
dwell and continue at in and upon the said cell, and to 
have the lands thereto belonging as by the gift and 
ordinance of the then Prior of Much Wenlock aforesaid 

That the said Castle was under the government, 

controlment, correction and jurisdiction of the Prior of 
Much Wenlock, and after he was there placed was not of 

the convent of Much Wenlock. He does not know 

nor hath heard that any monk or monks dwelling and 

92 The History of Church Preen. 

serving at Freen aforesaid had any corporation, common or 
convent seal there, as very Priors thereof, but sayeth that 
he hath heard that Don John Castle did make leases of 

part of Preen, but under what seal he knoweth not 

That he doth know that the said cell of Preen was a very 
cell and member of the Priory of Much Wenlock aforesaid, 
but whether the lands belonging to Preen were parcel of 
the possessions of Much Wenlock he knoweth not ; and 
further sayeth that he knoweth that the Prior of Preen for 
a fault which he had committed was sent for by the Prior 
of Much Wenlock, and was by him punished for his said 
offence in the Chapter House of Much Wenlock aforesaid, 
and was his obediencer there." 

w. Christopher Morrall, of Much Wenlock, tanner, aged 
eighty, says : " he knew the mansion house in Preen where 
one Don John Castle did dwell and continue, who used 
and did wear the same apparel and habit as the monks of 
the Priory of Much Wenlock then did, and was neverthe- 
less called the Prior of Preen". 

X. John Wilcox of Burton, husbandman, s^ed eighty, 
says : " that he' knoweth divers messuages and lands in 
Preen whereof the defendants or some of them have had and 
received the rents and profits .... He hath heard that 
the Prior of Much Wenlock did prefer one of the Monks of 

Wenlock to be Prior of Preen That he hath heard 

that the said Don John was by the Prior of Much Wen- 
lock called and punished at die Priory of Much Wenlock 
by the said Prior for his misdemeanours. .... The said 
mansion house at Preen was a very cell and member of 
the Priory of Much Wenlock, and the said monk so 

The History of Church Preen, 93 

placed and serving at Preen was an obediencer to the 
Prior of Wenlock." 

Y. William Doughty of Burton, husbandman, aged eighty, 

says : " Preen was a cell of Much Wenlock Don 

John Castle was placed and appointed by the Prior of 
Much Wenlock to serve and say service at Preen, and was 

then called the Prior of Preen That he that was 

there placed by the Prior of Much Wenlock was under the 
government, controlment and correction of the said Prior, 
and was by him called, punished and corrected for his 

misdemeanours That he hath heard by credible 

report that the cell of Preen was a very cell and member 
of the Priory of Much Wenlock." 

z. Hugh Samson, cUi(zs Comishe (previously examined 
for the Crown ; see E on p. yy^ says : " that the said Don 
John Castle was called before the Prior of Much Wenlock, 
and was by the said Prior corrected and punished at the 
Priory of Wenlock for some misdemeanour, and was kept 
under such correction for the space of one fortnight or 
thereabouts, during which time deponent knoweth that one 
*Sir' Richard Fishwick, sexton of the Priory of Much 
Wenlock, was appointed by the Prior of Much Wenlock to 
serve and say service and prayers then used at Preen. 
. . • . That the cell or house of Preen was a cell and 
member of the Priory of Wenlock, and the monk placed 
there was an obediencer of the Prior of Much Wenlock, 
and did then wear his cowl as the monks of Wenlock did". 

A A. Thomas Benbowe of Much Wenlock, husbandman, 
aged eighty, says: "that he knoweth that the Prior of 
Much Wenlock did appoint one Fishwick sexton of Much 

94 The History of Church Preen. 

Wenlock to serve and say service and prayers then used 
at Preen in the absence of Don John Castle, who was 
punished or in prison by the said Prior of Much Wenlock 
for some offence he had committed whilst he was at Preen, 
which was, as he remembereth by the space of one fort- 
night or thereabouts : and this deponent did then see the 
said Castle in prison and afterwards he was released and 
restored to his Priory of Preen again, which Priory he had 
at the first by consent of the said Prior of Wenlock and 

his whole brethren He knoweth by the only report 

of one Corfield deceased, who was a tenant of certain lands 
belonging to the said cell of Preen, that he the said 
Corfield could not have his lease made by the Prior of 
Preen without the consent of the Prior of Much Wen- 
lock That the Prior of Preen was Prior thereof as 

the Prior of Much Wenlock was Prior of Wenlock, but 
could not make leases of lands without the consent of the 
Prior of Much Wenlock ; and further sayeth that he neither 
knoweth nor hath heard that the Priory of Preen had any 
corporation or common or convent seal of itself. .... 
That the Prior of Preen was accompted one of the number 
of the said Priory of Much Wenlock as the said Priors 
of Sandwell and Dudley were. .... That he knoweth 
that the Prior of Preen did call the Prior of Much Wen- 
lock Master, and did take him for his Master and would 
bow down to him, and so did the Priors of Sandwell and 

B B. Robert Mounslowe, of Much Wenlock, labourer, aged 
seventy-two, says : " he knoweth the said cell or mansion 
house at Preen wherein a monk of Much Wenlock did 

The History of Church Preen. 95 

dwdl and continue and was then Prior of Preen 

That he knoweth that Richard Dyckins one of the 
defendants holdeth parcel of the lands belonging to the 
said cell of Preen in his possession and taketh the issues and 
profits thereof. .... That Don John Castle was placed at 
Preen as Prior by the gift and setting in of the Prior ©f Much 

Wenlock That Don John Castle was sent for by the 

Prior of Much Wenlock to the Priory of Much Wenlock 
and was there punished and detained under correction in 
in the Sextry by the space of about one fortnight or 8 
days. .... He also says that he was under the obedience 
of the Prior of Much Wenlock and called him Master. .... 
That he knoweth not whether the Prior of Preen had any 
corporation or common or convent seal". 

CC. William Browne, alias Tyler, of Much Wenlock, 
weaver, aged eighty-five, says : " that Don John Castle was 
called Prior of Preen and continued there till about 54 years 
past within a year over or under to his remembrance" (/>., 
54 years from date of Commission, so that he was Prior 

until 1536, the date of the dissolution of Preen) 

That Don John Castle was punished at Wenlock Priory 
for his offence in 'a place near the Chapter-house that 
people might see him, but not in the Chapter-house .... 
That the Prior of Preen had no seal, but what he had of 
the Prior of Wenlock. .... That the said cell of Preen 
was accompted a member of the Priory of Much Wenlock 
and that the Priors thereof could not set or let any part 
thereof without the consent of the Prior of Wenlock". 

D D. Thomas Fraunces, of Kenley Wood, labourer, aged 
sixty-four, says : " he knoweth the messu^es and lands 

96 The History of Church Preen. 

in the occupation of the defendants, or some of them, or 
their tenants or farmers, were parcel belonging to the 

mansion house of Preen He hath heard that if the 

Prior of Preen did not demean himself well that then the 
Prior of Wenlock might call him to Wenlock and put 
another in his place." 

E E. William Corfield, of Hughley, husbandman, aged 
seventy, says : " he knoweth the mansion house in Preen 
wherein Richard Dyckins one of the defendants doth dwell, 
wherein one who was before a monk of Much Wenlock and 
came from thence, did dwell, and was called Prior of Preen. 
.... That he hath heard his mother say, who did dwell 
at the same mansion house, that the Prior of Much 
Wenlock did place and prefer a monk out of his house or 

Priory of Wenlock to serve at Preen aforesaid 

That he hath heard his said mother say that the said 
monk, after he was placed at Preen did come and go to 
the Prior of Much Wenlock, and was by him punished at 
Wenlock Priory for some offence committed by him at 

Preen That the monk placed at Preen was a con- 

ventual monk inferior to the Prior of Much Wenlock, and 

still part of the convent there That he hath heard 

by like report that the Prior of Wenlock did shift him 
which was placed at Preen at his pleasure, and this 
deponent saith that he hath heard reported since the sup- 
pressing of Preen that leases which were made of the 
lands belonging to the said mansion house were found 
fault withal, and some men have talked that such leases 
were not good, but who they were or what time such talk 
was used he remembereth not." 

The History of Church Preen. 97 

FF. Thomas Corfelde, of Preen (previously examined 
on behalf of the tenants, see M, p. 83), says: *'he 
knowetfi the mansion house in the Intenx^tory 
mentioned, but whether a monk did dwell therein he 
knoweth not .... That he hath heard reported that 
the Prior of Wenlock did correct the last Prior of 
Preen for some offence which he had committed at 
Preen, but for what cause or by what authority he so 
did this deponent knoweth not. He knoweth not nor 
hath heard that the Prior of Preen had any corporation 
or convent seal as very Prior, but knoweth that the 
said Prior made leases under a seal, and that the lands 
so leased were enjoyed by virtue of the said leases 
for a long time ; but whether the same leases were 
granted by consent of the Prior of Wenlock or what 
authority the Prior of Preen had to grant the leases this 
deponent knoweth not .... That the said cell or mansion 
house of Preen was a cell out of the Priory of Wenlock, 
and hath lately heard that t!he Prior of Preen did 
owe obedience to the Prior of Wenlock, but what manner 
of obedience this deponent knoweth not. That some of 
the tenants of the lands have compounded and taken new 
leases for a longer time, and surrendered their old leases, 
at the hands of William Dyckins and Richard Dyckins 
two of the defen4ants, and that some of the said tenants 
had the opinion of Mr. William Leighton, Esquire {of 
Plaish\ of their said new leases". 

GG. Richard Bradeley, of Brockton, aged seventy-five, 
says : ^ he doth know the said cell of Preen wherein a monk 
of Wenlock did dwell and was inducted by the Prior of 


98 The History of Church Preen. 

Wenlock and called Prior of Preen He hath heard 

that the Prior of Preen was at and under the government 
and correction of the Prior of Wenlock, as the monks of 
Wenlock were, but whether he were to be removed, 
punished, or corrected by the Prior of Wenlock, this 

deponent knoweth not He doth not know nor hath 

heard that the Prior of Preen had any corporation or 
convent, or any common or convent seal, as Priors of other 

Priories had That the common voice and speeches 

was that the cell of Preen was a cell and member of the 
Priory of Much Wenlock, but what duty the Prior of Preen 
did owe to the Prior of Wenlock after he was placed at 
Preen, or whether he owed him any or none this deponent 
of his own knowledge knoweth not, but he hath heard that 
he did owe the Prior of Wenlock duty and was corrected 
by him." 

H H. Thomas Whycke (previously examined on behalf 
of the tenants — see N, page 85), says : " that he knoweth 
some copies made of the possessions of Preen by Don John 
Castle who he hath heard his father say was Prior of 
Preen, and that the copies were made by him without the 
consent of the Prior of Wenlock, as he thinketh, and that 
the deponent having a copy made to him of the lands 
which he holdeth did take a lease for a longer time of the 
same from the defendant William Dyckins and delivered 
up unto him his first copy and lost his old {lease of) years at 
such time as the rest of his neighbours did the like, wherein 
he saith his landlord the said William Dyckins was good 
to him, and the cause why he so did (i.e., surrender the old 
lease), was because his neighbours did the like". 

The ftistory of Church Preen. 99 

1 1. William Corfeilde of Preen (previously examined on 
behalf of the tenants — ^see O, page 85), says : " that he hath 
heard one John Myddleton say, who was one of the tenants, 
that about 12 years since he did compound with Wilh'am 
Dyckins, one of the defendants, and did take a new lease 
of him of the said lands, which were granted by his old 
lease, and about the same time one Thomas Whycke did 
also take a new lease of such lands as he did hold, having 
about eight years then not expired, and about the same 
time one Cowper did the like having the like term unex- 
pired, and about the same time one Stephens did the like, 
but whether he had any term unexpired this deponent 
knoweth not : and further sayeth, that about the same time 
this deponent's mother Elizabeth Corfeilde and this 
deponent did the like for their tenement, having then 
twenty years and more unexpired, and took the same by 
their new lease for three lives ; and further sayeth the cause 
why his said mother and he did take a new lease for lives 
having so great a term to come and unexpired in the old 
lease was because they did take occasion by the advice of 
their friends and Counsel learned in the law to fear their 
old lease, and their Counsel which gave them such advice 
was Mr. Plowden, deceased, who advised them also to take 
a new lease". 

J J. William Heynes of Hughley, husbandman, aged 
sixty-two, sayeth: "that he hath heard his father and 
mother say that the Prior of Wenlock had the appointing 
of the Prior of Preen who was previously one of the monks 
of Wenlock Priory, and he hath heard likewise the Prior 
of Preen was under the government and correction of the 

455252 A 

lOO Th€ History of Church PreetL 

Prior of Wenlock and was corrected and punished by the 
Prior of Wenlock, and sayeth further that as he has heard 
the said capital house of Preen was a member of the 
Priory of Wenlock". 

K K. William Persones of " Prestopp" {Presthopi)^ hus- 
bandman, aged seventy, sa)^ : ''that he knowedi the mansion 
house in Preen now in the tenure of Richard Dyckins one 
of the defendants wherein one Don John Castle did dwell 
and was called Prior of Preen. .... He hath heard that 
John Myddleton, one of the tenants of Preen, did of late 
surrender up his old lease to William Dyckins defendant, 
and took a new le^ise of him and the cause was as he hath 
heard because his old term was almost expired, as also as 
he hath heard that Myddleton feared that Fraunces Cocke, 
being Myddleton's tenant of the moiety, would procure an 
estate of the whole". 

L L. John Garrett of Hughley, aged seventy-five, says : 
" that he did know the capital messuage or mansion house 
in Preen wherein one did dwell who was sometimes called 
Monk of Preen and sometimes Prior of Preen, and he 
thinketh his name that last dwelt there was Bayley (see 
page 23). .... That the speeches and whole voice of the 
country were that the Prior of Wenlock did place him which 
was at Preen to be Prior there and to say service there and 
to displace him when he would if he did use himself other- 
wise than he ought to do and also that he which was so 
placed at Preen was under the government and correction of 
the Prior of Wenlock, and to be by him corrected (if he did 
amiss) and was nevertheless whilst he wfls continuing at 
Preen reckoned and accompted to be one of the house of 

The History of Church Preen. loi 

" -^^^^ i^. ■■■■ -^ ■ — ■■ ■■■■^- —■■■■■ ■ I ^^^^^ 

Wenlock and under the Prior there. .... That the voices 
of the country thereabouts, about seventy years since, was 
that the said mansion house of Preen was a member of the 
Priory of Wenlock and belonging thereunto, and that he 
which was so placed at Preen was called Prior of Preen and 
one of the Monks of Wenlock under the Prior there and of 

the house there That he which was so placed at Preen 

was to be removed by the Prior of Wenlock at all times, 
as the like speeches and voices of the country were". 

M M. Alice Wylde (previously referred to under T on 
p. 88) says she is ignorant, although she gave copious 
evidence as the tenants' witness. 

N N. John Myddleton (who gave evidence for the tenants, 
see R p. 87) says : " that the Prior of Wenlock did place 
one of his monks of Wenlock to be Prior of Preen and 
there to serve, and sayeth further that the said monk so 
there placed was to be there upon his good demeanour, so 
long as he did use himself well, there to continue ; and that 
also he was corrected by the Prior of Wenlock, and hath 
heard his elders say that the Prior of Wenlock might 
displace such one as he did there place if he did not there 
use himself well, and that the tenants would punish and 
correct him if he did not well He hath heard his elders 
say that he was sent home to Wenlock and there punished 
because he did not well at Preen ; and was then accompted 
one of the Monks of Wenlock during the time of his 
punishment, and another appointed by the Prior of 
Wenlock to serve in his place in his absence ; and after- 
wards came again to Preen and was Prior there. He 
further sayeth that be hath seen a lease made by Don John 

I02 The History of Church Preen. 

Castle, who was said to be Prior of Preen, to one William 
Myddleton, this deponent's father, of a tenement and lands 
in Preen now in this deponent's occupation, which lease 
this deponent yielded up to William Dyckins, one of the 
defendants, before the expiration thereof, and took of him 
a new lease thereof, and so did his neighbours of their 
tenements, fearing their old leases which were made by the 
said Don John Castle would be proved to be nought, which 
was the cause that moved this deponent likewise to yield 
up his old lease and take a new one of the said William 

The evidence of these nineteen witnesses 

Summary ^\^ fo^ ^^ Defendants, William Dickyns, 

of the 
Evidence. Richard Dickyns and William Stevens is some- 
what contradictory, but on the whole goes to 
show that the Prior of Preen was under the control of the 
Prior of Wenlock, and that the latter had power to remove 
the Prior of Preen for misconduct, but whether he had 
power to permanently displace him is not quite clear ; only 
four or five of the witnesses speak positively upon this 

Two of the witnesses state that tlie Prior of Preen could 
not grant leases without the consent of the* Prior of 
Wenlock, but two other witnesses, Thomas Whycke and 
Thomas Corfelde, both tenants previously examined, say 
distinctly that the Prior of Preen could and did, but they 
admit that some of the tenants took new leases from the 
Defendants, because they thought that the leases of the 
Prior of Preen were not good. Most of the deponents tey 

The History of Church Preen, 103 

that the Prior of Preen had no convent seal of his own 
(this is diametrically opposed to previous evidence), and 
they lay great stress upon this point, but they say that the 
leases were made under seal, leaving us to infer that they 
were sealed with the seal of the Prior of Wenlock. 

Great stress, too, is laid upon the fact that the Prior of 
Preen had been punished by the Prior of Wenlock, and 
that he was in the habit of calling him '* Master". One 
witness, Richard Bradeley of Brockton, says, he does not 
know whether he (the Prior) was to be removed, punished 
and corrected ; but says that he was under the government 
and control of the Prior of Wenlock as the monks of 
Wenlock were. 

In reference to the leasesi it is to be observed that 
Thomas Corfelde says he does not know whether leases 
were granted with the consent of the Prior of Wenlock. 
Evidently he was unwilling to commit himself either way. 

Thomas Benbowe, of Much Wenlock, says, that the said 
cell of Preen was but a cell and member of the Priory of 
Wenlock ; but whether the Prior of Preen after his appoint- 
ment was then of the convent of Much Wenlock he 
knoweth not " Nevertheless the said Prior of Preen was 
accompted one of the number of the said Prior of Much 
Wenlock as the Priors of Sandwell and Dudley were." 

A previous witness, Hugh Samson alias Comishe, had 
spoken of Sandwell as a cell of Wenlock. 

I think there must be some mistake, as Eyton does not 
mention Sandwell at all, neither does Sir George Duckett. 
The only cells of Wenlock were Dudley, Preen, and 
St Helens in the Isle of Wight. 

I04 The History of Church Preen. 

In the evidence of the various witnesses there are many 
incidental allusions to the state of the parish for the 
fifty years between the dissolution and the time of the 

Preen appears to have been much more densely 
populated than it is now ; there were at least ten tenants 
with fair-sized holdings, besides 'smaller tenants and 
cottages. Such a change, indeed, if we may judge from 
the r^stration of baptisms and burials in the various 
country parishes, and also from the remains of old manor 
houses now turned into farm houses, appears to have taken 
place in many of these agricultural parishes in Shrop- 

Three hundred years ago there were few parishes without 
their church and manor house, in the latter of which the 
squire lived, well content with his modest patrimony of 
twelve or fifteen hundred acres, and who employed a 
sufficient amount of labour to keep the land in a fair state 
of cultivation. Now, alas 1 the squire is fast disappearing, 
and a few farm labourers barely suffice to keep the land 
from relapsing into a state of nature. 

Hitherto I have alluded to the treasures of the 
ProsD^^ Record Office, but there are many other 
sources of information which are well known 
to archaeologists, chief . amongst them, the Bodleian 
Library and the British Museum ; and I must congratulate 
the Shropshire Archaeolc^cal Society upon the work they 
have undertaken at the Bodleian in transcribing the 
Blakeway MSS., which are of great value. I have myself 


Chukch l'Kiif:N Chukch.— East End. 

{From a Painling by Miss £. M. E(royd.\ 

The History of Church Preen, 105 

had portions, referring to parishes in which I am in- 
terested, transcribed, and I can speak as to their great 

In the year 1727, John Dyckins, who was at that time 
owner of Preen, issued a prospectus which he called : — < 

" Leases for Twenty-One Years to be granted of an 
Estate Capable of such Improvements That the Lessees 
will be thereby entitled to the Gain of Six Hundred 
Pounds for the Payment of One." 

A copy of this prospectus is in the Bodleian Library, 
and it is so curious that I have inserted it in the Appendix.^ 
No doubt it was one of the many " bubble companies" that 
were attempted to be floated at this time, but it is interest- 
ing as giving an insight into the condition of Preen one 
hundred and seventy years ago. 

After inviting all true patriots that are of a public 
spirit, and delight to see the solid and substantial manu- 
factures of their own country flourish, to join him in his 
enterprise, he goes on to say what it is: flrst of all stating 
that the enclosed lands of the Manor of Church Preen 
consist of 1,440 acres, and that the greatest part of this 
land may be improved to 405. per acre by turning the 
water over it that runs through the town constantly and 
carries the black water that comes from the dunghills 
along with it ; also that there is a common of 200 acres 
that may be inclosed and made of the same value. As the 
whole area of Preen parish is under 1,200 acres, and as the 
rent in the best times does not appear to have exceeded 

^ Appendix A, p. 123. 

io6 The History of Church Preen. 

25 J. an acre, this view of the extent and value of the Manor 
may be looked upon as sanguine. 

Then it is stated that a salt spring has been discovered 
by boring, and that it is so strong that it rises over the 
hole, although it is 15 yards deep. 

In reference to this I may say that there is a tradition of 
a salt spring existing in one of the fields at Preen ; but 
whether this is so or not, it is an undoubted fact that in 
many of the wells at Preen, when first sunk, the water has 
been found to be of a medicinal nature. 

There are stated to be ten principal farm houses standing 
together in a small town or village, with bams, stables, and 
other suitable conveniences; also twenty well-built cottages, 
the inhabitants of several of them taking ;^20 per annum 
of the lands adjacent. 

So that there were in all thirty houses, and if we reckon 
five persons to a house, the population would be one 
hundred and fifty at that time ; since then it has greatly 

The prospectus speaks of six ponds existing, and the 
facility there is of easily making as many more ; that a 
trout brook will run through them ; and that a great 
number of springs that arise on the side of the hill may be 
easily turned into the brook. 

The ponds here alluded to still exist, and w««, I take it, 
the fish-ponds made by the monks. 

After speaking of the delightful and pleasant situation. 

^ In 1793, ^l^c population was eighty-three, and in 1841 it was one 
hundred and one. 

f-- -. 

The History of Church Preen. 107 

and the healthfulness of the place being so great that the 
inhabitants generally live to a great age, we are in the end 
enlightened as to the scheme itself. 

Two furnaces were to be erected within the Manor for 
melting the iron metal, and converting it into bar iron. 
After a very abstruse calculation, the profit is shown to 
amount to no less than ;^656,5oo.^ 

Many different kinds of ironstone are stated to exist on 
the estate, one of which is like the Cumberland ore called 
hematite. It is also asserted that there is great plenty of 
coal in the country, and that provisions are cheap, it lying 
near Wales. I need not say that there is no ironstone at 
Preen ; it is partly on the Caradoc sandstone and the lower 
Silurian, much below the Carboniferous system. 

^ _. .It is strange to think that the church attached 
The Church. 

to the small cell of the great Priory of Wen- 
lock should still survive, and that the inhabitants of Church 
Preen should worship in the same building that their 
predecessors used for so many hundreds of years. How 
different has been the fate of the mother-house and its 
glorious church, the ruins of which, now so reverently cared 
for by its present owner, Mr. Charles J. Milnes Gaskell, 
tell us only too plainly what we have lost, and how ruthless 
has been the destruction since the day when John Bayley, 

^ As a matter of fsict, furnace^ were erected at Hugbley, I think, 
sometime in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, but the ironstone 
was brought from a distance ; the erection of furnaces there being in 
consequence of the focility of obtaining wood for charcoal The 
furnaces were driven by water power. 

io8 The History of Church Preen. 

the last Prior, on January 25th, 1540, surrendered the 
Priory to the Kingfs Commissioners. 

With the Returns of Churched Goods in the time of 
Edward VI to the Court of Exchequer (Queen's Remem- 
brancer; County of Salop), there are two interesting lists of 
Preen Church property, which I have given, with their 
translations, in Appendix C, at p. 134. 

In a manuscript in the British Museum {Additional MS. 
2 1 01 8) entitled '* Ecclesiastical notes and descriptive 
accounts of Parishes within the Archdeaconry of Salop", 
and described in the Museum catal<^[ue as being in the 
handwriting of Thomas Farmer Dukes {circa 1841), it is 
stated that : '' the Fabric" (of the church) ** consists of a 
nave about 30 ft long by \2\ ft wide, and a chancel 
38 ft long by 12^ ft wide, and separated by some old 
tabernacle work. It would be a fine narrow Gothic building, 
if neatly fitted up and the view uninterrupted. The south 
side has 8 single pews for 3 persons", (and) '* 3 pews for 
8 persons", (while the) " north side" (is occupied) " by single 
pews for 3 persons each and one holding 8 persons". 

Unhappily, since this was written, the screen which 
divided the chancel from the nave has disappeared ; indeed, 
it had gone when the property passed into the hands of the 
late owner. 

No doubt the east end was occupied by the monks, and 
to the west of the screen by the laity of the parish. 

When the church was restored in 1866, a doorway was 
uncovered leading from the choir into the Prior's house. 
This doorway has a square headstone-covering. In a 
short description of Church Preen, written in 1833 by the 

•-•■-< ^-B 

The History of Church Preen. 109 

well-known antiquary, William Hardwick/ he says : *' the 
chancel in the days of Cromwell lost its division fence, 
being now altogether open to the church". From this I 
infer that the tabernacle work mentioned by T. Farmer 
Dukes was only the remains of the original screen. 

Hardwick goes on to say that, in one of the windows in 
the north wall ** is a circle of stained glass exhibiting four 
stars, the only remains of what once decorated this little 
antiquated pile*'. This, too, has disappeared, and the only 
stained glass in the church is contained in three modem 
windows. He also says : " there has been an oak ceiling 
with the usual decorations of roses at the points of the 
panneling, long hid from the public eye" by stucco. All 
this, too, has gone ; the old roof, which was in an extreme 
state of decay, having been replaced by a new one at the 
time the church was restored. 

The church was built about the middle of the thirteenth 
century, and at the present time has the appearance of an 
extremely long, narrow building, the removal of the screen 
no doubt in a great measure accounting for this. The 
measurements of the building are 69 ft 8 ins. long by only 
1 2 ft. 8 ins. wide inside. On the south side of the east end 
there is a simple lancet window of three lights, all of equal 
height, which, plain as it is in its masonry, is most effective. 
The lancets show separately outside, but inside, under one 
segmental arch, end with one display. It is very unusual 
to have three lancets together of equal height. There is 

1 From a MS. in the library of the late Hon. and Rev. Canon 
J . R. O. Bridgeman, of The Hall, Wigan. 

1 1 o The History of Church Preen. 

one instance, however, at Eaton-under-Heywood, but the 
lancets there are much smaller and earlier, and each has 
its own splay. At Preen a large east window was required, 
and as tracery had scarcely been invented the three lancets 
under one head were erected. The remarkable point is 
that the central lancet is not higher than the others, as was 
usually the case, and this arrangement adds much to the 
beauty and simplicity of the window. 

The whole of the east end is unaltered, just as it was 
built six centuries aga At the west end is a lancet 
window of two lights, not so tall as those at the east 
On the south side there are three single simple lancets, 
and on the north three simple lancets and a fourth lancet, 
with a low-sided window separated from the lancet above 
by a transom. This window is just on the east side of 
where the chancel screen formerly stood ; it is a small 
square window. On one side are still to be seen the two 
places where the hinges of the casement were fixed. The 
arrangement below the window is unusual, as the splay of 
the walls is only continued to the bottom of the upper 
lancet, and below the transom the wall is cut away square 
to admit of a seat, i ft 6^ ins. wide, on either side of the 
window. Between these seats there is a well, i ft lo^ in. 
wide for the legs of the sitter ; the height of the seats from 
the floor is 2 ft 2. ins. ; the height of the recesses in the 
splays from the seats is 4 ft Antiquaries differ as to the 
object of these windows. The old idea that they were 
what was called lepe^; windows, where the leper could sit 
outside and hear mass without mixing with the congrega- 
tion, seems to be exploded ; and now the low-sided windows 

The History of Church Preen. 1 1 1 

^ » 

are supposed by many to have been windows from which 
the acolyte rang the sanctus bell at the elevation of the 
Host, to call the attention of all that might be within 

Mr. Mackenzie Walcott suggested that there was an 
Ankerhold at Preen built on the north side of this window, 
and that it was so arranged that the recluse could command 
a view of the image of St. John the Baptist, to whom the 
church is dedicated, which was probably placed on a 
bracket that still exists on the Epistle side of the altar, the 
bracket on the Gospel side having been occupied by the 
image of the Blessed Virgin (see p. 36). Mr. Walcott's 
ground for supposing that an Ankerhold existed is a 
legend in the Chronicle of Lanercost (see Appendix D, 

p. 137). 

On the south side of the altar there is a small simple 

piscina, surmounted by a quatrefoil arch, and below the 

south window at the east end is a seat for the priest. 

When, in 1865, the church was restored and the west end 
rebuilt, a vestry was erected leading out of the porch, a roof 
put up of the trussed-rafter form, with five cants, a new 
doorway inserted in the south wall, and the north doorway 
and other minor details renewed. With the exception of 
these features, and the rough porch, dating back some 
two hundred years, the original fabric is preserved. 

The ancient font is octagonal : the diagonal sides, which 
are much shorter than the others, end on two sides in small 
broaches, the remaining two being plain. It may be 
original, but the detail is less like the thirteenth than the 
fourteenth century. 

1 1 2 The History of Church Preen. 

The size is 2 ft. 2 ins. by 2 ft. by 2 ft. 4 ins. high, and the 
date as early as the church — ^thirteenth century. 

The pulpit is Jacobean, and is ornamented with large 
rosettes. The reading-desk has much the same character, 
and bears the date 1646. The two front pews have a little 
carving of the same type. 

The two bells, which now hang in a modem stone bell- 
turret at the west end, were formerly in the same place in 
* a wooden square bell-cot, similar to the one at Hughley, 
and to many others in this part of Shropshire. 

When the church was restored the whole of the west wall 
of the church fell down, carrying" with it the bells and 
portions of the north and south walls. 

The late Mr. Thomas North, F.S.A., a great authority, 
to whom I sent rubbings and particulars of the Preen bells, 
said that one of them is a pre- Reformation bell, probably of 
the fourteenth century, and dedicated to St John (the patron 
saint). It is by the same founder as a bell at Ness Magna, 
which is traditionally said to have come from Vale Crucis 
Abbey. The founder's initial cross^ is in both cases the 
same. Round the rim of the bell are the words : '^ Sancte 
lohanes ora pro nobis". Between each word there is a 
royal head, which (Mr. North thought) may be the head 
(as a boy) of Edward, son of Henry VI, as it is similar to 
a head occasionally found, with a beardless crowned head, 
supposed to be Henry VI, and with another (female) head, 
supposed to be his Queen, Margaret of Anjou. 

The other bell measures 18 inches in diameter, and was 

^ The cross is put after the word " nobis" in the illustration. — ^£p. 

SMThG'u e 

I oR/irieis 





Church Preen Bells.—Inscriptions. 
I. Pre- Reformation. II. Modern. 

The History of Church Preen. 1 1 3 

cast by Thomas Rudhall of Gloucester in 1779, his name 
and the date being inscribed on the bell thus : " Thomas 
Rudhall, Gloucester ; Founder, 1779". This Thomas was 
the great-grandson of Abraham Rudhall of Gloucester, who 
died in 1735, aged 78, and who was the founder in 1701 of 
the Hughley bells, four in number. 

The inscriptions on both the Preen bells are figured on 
one of the plates in this book. If Mr. North was correct 
in his surmise as to our pre-Reformation bell having come 
from Vale Crucis Abbey, no doubt it came at the time of 
t)ie Dissolution, when a *' clean sweep" was made of the 
abbeys and all that they contained. It may be of interest, 
in this connection, to give the inscriptions on the four 
Hughley bells : — 

1. "God prosper all our benefactors." A. R. 1701. 
(diameter 22 in&). 

2. "Abra. Rudhall, of Gloucester, cast us all." 1701. 
Lancelot Corfield, gent (diameter 23^ ins.). 

3. " Peace, good neighbourhood". A. R. 1701. The 
gift of Jacob Littleford, minister (diameter 26 ins.). 

4. "God prosper this parish." A. R. 1701. William 
Corfield, John Wood, churchwardens (diameter 27 ins.). 

The walls of Preen Church were originally decorated 
with red and yellow lines, which are still visible in many 
places. The fabric was simply and carefully restored in 
1866. Miss C. M. Beddoes, of Hereford, was good enough 
to allow me to reproduce as one of my illustrations a 
sketch in her possession, which shows the church as it 
appeared before the restoration She made a copy of the 
original sketch in 1 890 for the purpose. 


1 1 4 The History of Church Preen. 

In 1880 I made a new cemetery at some little distance 
from the church; and since then all the funerals have 
with one or two exceptions, taken place there. 

There are three memorial windows in the church ; an 
east window by Preedy, and two beautiful lancet windows 
on the north side by Heaton, Butler, and Bayne, all in 
memory of the Sparrow family. 

They are thus inscribed : — 

"To the Glory of God, and in memory of William 
Hanbury Sparrow, of Penn, in the County of Stafford, and 
Lord of the Manor of Church Preen, who was bom 
Jan : 6th 1789 and died Jan : 20th 1867, this window is 
placed by his son Arthur Sparrow." 

" Arthur William Hanbury, Son of Arthur Sparrow and 
Ruth his wife: Bom April 8th 1856, Died Oct: 30th 1878." 

"Ruth, wife of Arthur Sparrow, Bom i6th July 1828, 
Died 26th June 1888, Aged 59. I go to prepare a place 
for you'* 

The earliest volume of Parish Re^^isters con- 


Reffisten. ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ baptisms, marriages and burials 
for the period 1680 to 18 12, and has the follow- 
ing title : " A new Register Booke for the Parish of Church 
Preen of all Weddings, Christenings & Burialls made in the 
yeare of our Lord God 1680 ; Edward Humpeth being the 
Churchwarden of the said Parish, Anno predicto 1680." 
From the use of the word "new", it would appear that 
there was a previous Register Book which has been lost or 
destroyed. The present volume is in parts in duplicate. 

The History of Church Preen. \ 1 5 

The earliest entry reads : — 

" Imprimis, William Scriven of the parish of Condover 
and Elizabeth Cooke of this parish were married the 13th 
day of May Anno Dom' 1680." 

Very many of the early entries give surnames which 
were borne later on by the tenants of the Priors of Preen ; 
doubtless the same families continued for a long time. 
Among these, the names of Corfield, Parsons, Middleton 
and Whicke frequently appear. The earliest Corfield 
entry is : — 

" William Corfield buried 9 June 1682" ; 

while the latest, given in the second volume of registers, 
reads : — 

'* Elizabeth daughter of Thomas & Ann Corfield baptized 
at Preen 6 June 181 3", 

so that the name of Corfield has been with us for at least 
three hundred years (see p. 47). 

There are a number of entries of the Dickins family, the 
earliest being : — 

"Thomas Whicke of Stanton Longe and Elizabeth 
Dickins of this parish married 29 January 1680." 

Among the burials I found an entry dated August 26th, 
1 77 1, of an old woman named Anne Rogers, who had 
attained the age of loi years ; and net many years ago we 
had another woman of the same name living in the parish, 
who was only a year younger. 

As the result of a systematic examination of the first 
book of registers, I have prepared the following Table of 
statistics : — 


The History of Church Preen. 




















































































































































• 5 



1 741 


















1 701 









































• I 



































— - 









































— , 











1 761 


































^ Seven of these deaths were all in one ixaxdy. 

The History of Church Preen, 






























































































































































































These totals indicate, for the period of one hundred and 
thirty-three years, an average of just over three baptisms 
and two burials per year, and of one marriage every other 

It is quite clear that the population of Preen was very 
much lai^er two hundred years ago than it is now, as in 
the ten years 1680 to 1689, there were no less than forty- 
three baptisms, ten marris^^es, and forty-nine burials, which 
would probably mean a population of at least three 
hundred. At present there are some one hundred and 
twenty inhabitants, while for the period 1680 to 1767 there 


The History of Church Preen. 

must have been an average of from one hundred and 
eighty to one hundred and ninety. 

The second volume of the Church Preen Registers 
records all the baptisms, marriages and burials from 1813 
to the present time; and I have compiled therefrom 
the following Table, covering a period of eighty-three 
years : — 



























































































































































































































































— 1 


The History of 

Church Preen. 



































• — 



















































In the churchyard, adjoining the church, there 
p *"y is probably the largest yew tree in England, 
certainly one of the largest; it is indeed the 
glory of Preen. 

In 1780, it measured 32 ft. 2 in. in circumference at the 
ground, and 19 ft. at 4 ft, showing the increase in circum- 
ference in one hundred and nine years has been 2.9, or 
1 1 ins. in diameter ; this is an increase of i in. in diameter 
in ten years. 

In 1833, the measurement at ground was 36 ft, and at 
4 ft. from ground, 22 ft. ; so that in the last fifty-six years it 
does not appear to have increased at the same rate. 

The only yew trees that I know in England com- 
parable with our Preen tree are the yews in the church- 
yards at Crowhurst in Sussex, and at Darley Dale in 

The Crowhurst tree is stated to be 33 ft. at the ground 
and 26^ ft. at 7 ft. from the ground ; but when I saw the 
tree a few years ago it did not strike me as being nearly 



The History of Church Preen. 

as large, or possessing anything like the vigour and health 
of the tree at Preen. 

The Darley Dale yew is a very famous tree, and well 
deserving its fame. It is a much more vigorous tree 
than the Crowhurst yew, and it will compare with the 
Preen one in size. 

The following are the measurements of the Preen yew 
taken August 26th, 1897 ^ — 

Umbrage . 

At ground 

One foot from ground 

Four feet from ground 

Seven feet from ground 

Branches . 

Their height from ground : No. i 







Branch 16 ft. from ground 
Branches 17 (I. from ground :> 

No. I . 

No. 2 . 

230 ft 
37 ft. 2 in. 
32 ft. 7 in. 
24 ft 4 in. 
23 ft. 3 in. 
12 ft 7 in. 
4 ft. 6 in. 

3 ft 4 in. 
4 ft 

4 ft. 6 in. 
3 ft. 6 in. 

3 ft. loi in. 

6 ft J\ in. 
3 ft. i\ in. 

The yew by the big bathing pool at Preen measures : — 

At its base . . 21 ft. 10 in. 

One foot from ground . . 21 ft 3 in. 

Four feet from ground . 19 ft 3 in. 

Seven feet from ground . 18 ft. 3 in. 


.J' • 



W,; ' 




(/■ram a Ph^,.grttfili.) 

The History of Church Preen. 1 2 1 

This tree is reckoned to be five hundred and twenty-five 
years old. 

The following is extracted from that most valuable work, 
The YeW'trees of Great Britain and Ireland^ by John Lowe, 
M.D.Ed., F.L.S. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ld., 1897) : — 

" Church Preen, — In the churchyard is one of the finest, 

if not the finest, tree in existence The trunk is 

hollow, and measures 3 feet 6 inches across inside : it is this 
width for 10 ft, and will hold twenty-one men standing 
upright Notwithstanding the hollow trunk the tree is to all 
appearance healthy, and every year throws out new wood 

There are some very noteworthy points in these 

measurements which are not often so clearly brought into 
view. First, the difierence betwixt the girth at the base 
and that at 4 feet from the ground, amounting to no less 
than 18 feet 8 inches. We have here distinct evidence that 
the top was broken at an early period, and probably on 
several occasions in later times ; that a large amount of 
young shoots sprang up from the base and became welded 
together to form the trunk ; and that the original trunk 
has entirely disappeared, as is shown by the central hollow. 
We may further observe that the rate of difference betwixt 
these two points has been increased in the following 
degrees during the last hundred years.* Thus : 

In 1780 the difference between base and at 

4 feet was . 13 ft 2 in. 

In 1833 the difference between base and at 

4 feet was . . 14 ft o in. 

In 1889 the difference between base and at 

4 feet was . 1 8 ft 8 in 


122 The History of Church Preen. 

a total increase in that period of 5 feet 6 inches, which can 
only have arisen from the growth of young shoots from 
the base. 

'' Then we find that the amount of increase in 109 years 
is 8.3 inches, or 1.9 of diameter, equal to i foot 3 inches 
in 62.6 years, the rate of growth for young trees being 
I foot in seventy to seventy-five years. These facts 
show that the base is an unsatisfactory place of measure- 
ment, and that old trees may increase much more rapidly 
than young ones." 

Two pages back I have given a reproduction from a 
photograph of this famous Preen yew ; but no " counterfeit 
presentment" can do it justice, and it must be seen to be 
properly appreciated. Reckoning 10 (t. diameter at 12 
lines to the inch, the age of the tree, according to Mr. A. 
de Candolle's^ reckoning, would be 1,440 years : in other 
words, it was possibly planted when Hengist founded 
the kingdom of Kent in A.D. 457 ! On the other hand, 
Dr. Lowe estimates the age at 750 or 1,000 years, taking 
the diameter at 10 ft., and allowing seventy-five years for 
one foot. 

^ PhysiohgU VigitaU, A. De CandoUe, 1831. 


Leases for Twenty-One Years To be granted of an 
Estate Capable . of such Improvements That the 
Lessees will be thereby entitled to the Gain of Six- 
Hundred Founds for the Payment of One. 

Printed in the year M . DCC . XXVll (Bodley Press Mark, 
Gough, Shropshire 3). 

A Particular of the Estate is as follows :— 

Leases for one and twenty Years to be granted of an 
Estate Capable of such Improvements, by carrying on 
Manufactures for making Plates, both tinned and untinned 
Wire, and several other Sorts of Iron Wares, whereby, as is 
plainly demonstrated, the Lessees will be entitled to the 
Gain of six hundred Pounds for the Payment of one. 

Such Understandings as these are for the publick 
Good, but too great for a private Person ; therefore the 
Proprietor invites all true Patriots that are of a publick 
Spirit, and delight to see the solid and substantial Manu- 
factures of their own country flourish, to take Share of his 
Gain ; and that he may lawfully take this Method, appears 
by the Opinion of a very learned Lawyer in the Words 
following : — 

" I do not apprehend that this is prohibited by the 
Bubble Act ; for every Man may let his Land or any 

1 24 Appendix A. 

Interest in it, for what Time and on what Terms he can 
agree, and may let it in as many Parts as he pleaseth." 

The Mannor and whole Parish of Church- Preen, situated 
between Much Wenloch and Shrewsbury, in the County of 

Ten Principal Farm- Houses, standing together in a small 
Town or Village, with Bams, Stables, and other suitable 

Twenty Cottages well built ; the Inhabitants of several 
of them take Twenty Pounds per Annum of the Lands 

An old experienced Surveyor hath made Oath, the 
enclosed Lands amount to 1440 Acres; the greatest part 
of the Land may be improved to forty Shillings per acre, 
by turning the Water over it that runs through the Town 
constantly, and carries the black Water that comes from 
the Dunghills along with it. 

There is likewise a Common, that contains by computa- 
tion Two Hundred Acres, and may be water'd likewise 
from the Water-Course that comes from the Town, and 
improv*d to forty Shillings per Acre; may be enclosed 
because there is no other Freeholder or Copy-holder in the 

There is a Salt-Spring that was discover'd by boring, 
which is so strong, that it rises and runs over the Hole, 
though it is fifteen yards deep ; The Salt-Spring lies 
within four Miles of the Coals ; whereas Droitwich in 
Worcestershire lies twelve Miles from the Coala The 
Expence of eight Miles Carriage will therefore certainly be 
sav'd ! The greatest Expence in making the Salt is Fire ! 

Appendix A. 1 25 

The King's Duty at Droitwich amounts to several Hundred 
Pounds per Week ; This Salt-Spring lies within three 
Miles of the River Severn, a Navigable River. There are 
in the said Mannor several sorts of Iron Stone ; there is 
one Sort that is red like the Cumberland Ore (called 
Haematites), which is the richest kind of Ore. There is 
another sort so peculiar, that a German, who made it his 
Business to inquire into the Nature of all our English 
Mines, declared he never saw such in England before, and 
that it was the Sort of which the best Steel was made in 

By these several Sorts of Iron Stone being mix'd, no 
Doubt but as good Iron may be made here as comes from 

It would be a great Improvement to this Estate to 
erect Iron Works thereon ; and the Conveniences of the 
Situation are so very extraordinary, that a prodigious 
Profit may be gain'd thereby. Several great Estates 
have been not long since rais'd by Iron -Works that are 
not so well situated as these will be. There is a great 
Plenty of Coals in this Country and Provisions are very 
cheap, it lying near Wales, that all Sorts of Iron may be 
manufactur'd at a very cheap Rate. And these Mines 
lie within three Miles of the said River Severn a Navi- 
gable River. 

There are great Conveniences for building in the said 
Estate ; it is a most delightful and pleasant Situation, 
and so very healthful, that the Inhabitants generally live 
to a great Age. The Materials for building are very cheap, 
there are several large Quarries of hard Stone that riseth 

1 26 Appendix A, 

in Joints proper for building without Hewing ; the 
Charges of Hewing other Stone are very great 

This Stone may be got for two Pence per Load ; there is 
a fine light Slate that lies within two Miles of the said 
Manner, fit for covering Houses ; there is Lime-stone in 
great abundance that lies within two Miles of the said 
Estate, and the Coals lie but two Miles from the Lime- 

There are six Ponds, and as many more may be easily 
made with a very small Expence, and a Trout- Brook will run 
through them, and a great number of Springs that rise on 
the Side of a Hill may be turn'd easily into the Brook, 
which will very much enlarge the Stream. 

It is proposed to erect two Furnaces for melting Iron- 
Metal within this Mannor. 

There are several Hundred Loads of Stone already 
brought to a proper Place for building one Furnace. 

There are very great Quantities of Iron-Stone within a 
Bow-shot of the Places where the Furnaces are intended 
to be erected ; which lie not more than three Yards deep, 
and may be got for one Shilling per Dozen Bushel ; 
whereas the Iron-Stone in those Countries lies generally 
very deep, and costs eight Shillings the Dozen Bushels 

The Expence likewise of carrying the Iron-Stone four 
or five Miles, will be sav'd, which most of the other Works 
pay, because they are four or five Miles distant from the 

In making one thousand Tun of Iron-Metal, there is 
used two Thousand Dozen Bushels of Iron-stone, and two 

Appendix A. 127 

Thousand Loads of Charcoal : The cheap Woods for 
making Charcoal lie six Miles nearer these Mines than the 
other Works, which have destroyed the greater Part of the 
Woods that lie near them, and consequently rais'd the 
Price of those Woods which are left. The Carriage of the 
Iron-Stone four Miles will cost four Shillings per Dozen 
Bushels ; the Carriage of the Wood six Miles will cost six 
Shillings per Load. 

The neat Produce of these Works will be, after all 
Expences deducted, as follows : — 

Sav'd by Carriage of 2000 doz. Bushels of Iron- /. 

Stone four Miles, 2000 4r. 400 
Sav'd by Carriage of 2000 Load of Charcoal six 

Miles, 2000 six Shillings . . 600 

Sav'd by getting 2000 dozen Bushels of Iron 

Stone, 2000 seven Shillings 700 

The ordinary Gain of a Furnace . 1000 

So that each Furnace will clear per An : 2700 

Note, The ordinary Gain of a Furnace that will blow 
1000 Tun per An. is much more than ;f 1000, but this 
moderate Rate is fix'd to avoid the Imputation of an 
extravagant Calculation. 

It is propos'd that each Furnace be built large enough 
to blow looo Tun of Iron-Metal per Ann. in the whole 
2000 ; which 2000 Tun of Iron Metal, will be reduced to 
1500 Tuil, by Waste in working it into malleable Barr- 
Iron, fifteen Hundred Tun of Barr-Iron, when manu- 
factur'd into Wire and Plate, will at an Average be 

1 28 Appendix A. 

worth six-pence per Pound, suppose the Wire be sold at 
eight-Pence per Pound, and the Plate at four-pence per 

Fifteen Hundred multiplied by Fifty, amounts to 75000 

Out of which sum of 75000 deduct for making 

2000 Tun of Iron Metal 5000 

For Manufacturing the Iron Metal into Barr- 

Iron at 5/. per Tun , 7500 

For Manufacturing the Barr-Iron into Wire and 

Plate at 5/. per Tun 7500 

For carriage to London by the Rivers Severn 
and Thames, between which two Rivers, 
there is but twenty Miles land Carriage 4SOO 

Total 24500 

Remains clear Gain . 50500 

Note, These Goods may be carry'd by Sea for 30^. per 

The Proprietor intends to grant 1000 Leases at 100/. 
per Lease. 

A Lease for One and Twenty Years, is worth Thirteen 
Years Purchase. 

50,500, the Yearly neat Produce of the Works, multiplied 
by 13 amounts to 656,500. 

Each Lease therefore will be worth more than 600/. 

Promisary Notes shall be issued out, to the Value of 
100,000, which Notes only shall be taken in Payment for 
the Leases, Which 100,000 to be thus rais'd, shall (by 

Appendix A. 129 

proper Trustees to be specially appointed for that Purpose) 
be applied to carry on the Works and other Improvements 
on the said Estate ; and the neat Produce of the whole, 
shall be yearly (after completing the said Works) divided 
thus. One half to the Proprietor, as a Consideration for 
his Estate and Mines, there being likewise very improve- 
able Lead and Coal Mines on the said Estate ; and the 
other half of all the neat Profits to be divided among the 
several Lessees, according to their respective Proportions of 
the said Leases. 

The Proprietor hath digged thro' a Vein of red Mudd or 
Earth ten yards deep in this Estate, which may produce 
something very valuable, as will appear by the Description 
given of such Earth, by the learned Mr. Boyle in his 
Medicina Hydrostatica, Page 201, in the Words follow- 
ing :— 

*' To manifest that this Expedient may be of use in 
divers cases, I shall only here observe, that a late Author, 
who hath published an Account of Swedland, declares, 
that one of the best Sorts of Swedish Iron (which you 
know is much esteem'd in its kind) as divers Times found 
in the Form of a red Mud, at the Bottom of Lakes, or far 
lesser stagnant Waters ; which I then more readily believe, 
because I have found some English Oakers (that pass but 
for red Earth or Stone of that Colour) to be richer in Iron, 
than I found some famous Ores of that Metal to be : And 
another experienced Writer ; who gave us an Account of 
the Gold and Silver Mines of America, among which he 
spent several Years, takes Notice, that Gold itself is found 
from Time to Time disguis'd into a reddish earth, or is 



1 30 Appendix A. 

(though unexpectedly) harboured in it An Italian 
Mineralist, of Repute in the last Age, doth also take 
Notice, that a reddish Sort of Earth doth sometimes con- 
tain a Portion of the richest Metals. I have observed 
some European Diamonds, as many call a sort of clear 
finely figur'd Chrystals to grow in red Earth, whence I 
have taken up pretty Store of them ; and an inquisitive 
Traveller, who hath been in the Indies, presented me with 
a certain Earth, which he affirmed to be from t^ie Diamond 
Mines (I presume in the Kingdom of Golchonda) which I 
found to be also red, and which I made some Trials of, 
that belong not to this Place". 



[From the London Courier of Wednesday Evening, 

October 4, 1 82a] 

Valuable Freehold Manor, Advowson, Estate, and 
Tythes, at Church Preen, in the County of Salop, con- 
taining about 818 Acres of exceedingly good Meadow, 
Pasture, Arable and Wood Lands, lying compact together, 
within a ring fence, and divided into eligible Farms. To 
be Sold by Auction, by Messrs. Tudor and Lawrence, in 
the following or such other lots as shall be agreed upon at 
the time of Sale, at the Lion Inn, Shrewsbury, on Saturday, 
the 7th day of October next, at Four o'clock in the After- 
noon (unless an acceptable oflfer in the meantime be made 
for the same by Private Contract, of which due notice will 
be given), subject to Land Tax, and a small annual pay- 
ment to the Minister of Church Preen, and also subject to 
Conditions of Sale. 

All that the Manor or Lordship of Church 
Preen, in the County of Salop, with its Rights, 
Members, and Appurtenances ; and all that the Advowson 
of the Church of Church Preen aforesaid ; and also all 
that Messuage, Tenement, Farm, and Lands, situate in the 
Parish of Church Preen aforesaid ; containing together 
367 a. 2 r. ^g^p. or thereabouts, in the occupation of 

1 3 2 Appendix B. 

Mr. Thomas Minton ; and all that Messuage and Garden 
adjoining thereto, containing i r. 20 p., in the occupation 
of Thomas Howells. The Farm and Lands in the occupa- 
tion of Thomas Minton are held for the term of ninety 
years, determinable on the life of Samuel Minton, aged 
72 years this month (October), and of William Minton, 
aged 70 in December next 

_^ All those several Messuages, Tenements, Farm, 

and Lands, situated at Church Preen aforesaid, 
containing together 341 a. 2r. 5 p. or thereabouts, in the 
several occupations of Thomas Wilcox, Thomas Minton* 
Thomas Partridge, William Dudley, and Thomas Roberts, 
jun., as tenants at will. 

All that Messuage, Tenement, Farm and Lands, 
situate at Church Preen aforesaid, containing 
together 72 a. 2 r. 36 p. or thereabouts, in the several occu- 
pations of Thomas Partridge and William Dudley, as 
tenants at will. 

All those several Messuages, Tenements, Farm 
and Lands, situate at Church Preen aforesaid, 
containing together 35 a. i r. 34 p. or thereabouts, in the 
several occupations of Thomas Roberts, sen., and Thomas 
Roberts, jun., as tenants at will. The Tithes of the said 
Estate will be sold therewith. This property abounds 
with game ; and the extensive pieces of water thereon are 
well stocked, and afford excellent fishing. The Estate is 

Appendix B. 133 

nine miles distant from the county town of Salop, and four 
miles from the market town of Wenlock. 

Printed particulars are in preparation, and may be had 
on application to Messrs. Coupland, Dukes, and Salt, 
Attomies at Law, Shrewsbury ; at whose Office a Plan of 
the Estate may be seen. 


Returns of Churches* Goods in the time of Edward VI to 
the Court of Exchequer (Queen's Remembrancer), 
County of Salop. 

Inventories of plate, jewels, etc., of Churches in the 
Hundred of Condover in the County of Salop. 

No. II. 


The presentment of the p'yche of Prene. 

Thys Indenture made the xiij^ day of Auguste In yj^ 
yere of the Rayne of your soflferayne Lorde Edward the 
vjth by Grace of God Kynge of Eyngland fraunce and 
Ireland Deffendor of the faythe and yerthe of the chourche 
of Yengland & Ireland supreme hed. 

S* Rychard Ley, farm*", Edward Whycke, Edwarde 
P'sons Wardens, foolcke Myddyllton and other two 
oneste men. 

In p»mis a chalys of sylver p'sell gylte. 

It' ij belles and a cope of whyte sylke. 

It' a sauntes bell and a syrples. 

It' a ves'ment of red sylke and a crosse of brasse and a 

pyx of brasse. 

Chargyd of the Present". 

(Public Record Office f 6 Edward VI. I. P. R. 8625). 

Appendix C. 135 



The Presentment of the Parish of Preen. 

This Indenture made the 13th day of August in the 
6th year of the Reign of your Sovereign Lord Edward the 
Sixth, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and 
Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and {in) the Earth, of the 
Church of England and Ireland, Supreme Head. 

Sir Richard Ley, Farmer (i.e., Impropriator of the Tithes 
or Lay Rector) ; Edward Whycke and Edward Parsons 
{Church^ Wardens ; and two other honest men. 

Imprimis, a chalice of silver, parcel-gilt. 

Item, two bells and a cope of white silk. 

Item, a Saint's bell {or sacring bell), and a surplice. 

Item, a vestment of red silk and a cross of brass, and a 
pix of brass. 

Charged of the Presenters (f>., the Presenters were 
bound over for the safe custody of the property). 

Returns of Churches' Goods in the time of Edward VI to 
the Court of Exchequer (Queen's Remembrancer), 
County of Salop. 


This Byll Indented and made the xviijth day of ... . 
of our Soui^ayng lord Edward the Sixt by the .... King 
Defendo^^ of the faythe and in yerthe (the Earth) of the 
. . . . lerland supi'me heed Betwyne Andrew Corbet 
R . . . . And Richard Newport esquire on' th'on' p'te 
a . . . . and Edw'd Wyke Churche Wardes of the other 

136 Appendix C. 

p'te w . . . . Edward and Edward are bouden a . . . . 
p^sents to be charged and bounden to saue kepe to ... . 
vnsold and vnbeseled now remayng in the p'ishe and 
. . . . wyll answere therefore In wytnes hereof we ha ... . 
the Day and yere aboue sayd. 

Rycharde LL. 

(Public Record Office ^, membrane 3.) 



This Bill indented and made the i8th day of {tarn) 01 
our Sovereign Lord Edward the Sixth by the {torn) King, 
Defender of the Faith, and, in the Earth of the {tarn) 
Ireland, Supreme Head, between Andrew Corbett, R {torn) 
and Richard Newport, Churchwardens of the other part, 
vf{tom) Edward and Edward are bounden a {tarn) presents 
to be charged and bounden to save, keep, to {torn) unsold 
and unembezzled, now remaining in the parish {church) and 
{tarn) will answer there for. In Witness hereof we have 
{tarn) the day and year abovesaid. 

Richard LL {part of the Parson* s signature^ 
or possibly that of the '* Farmef^\ or 
Lay Rector), 


Communications by the late Rev. Prebendary Mackenzie 
E. C. Walcott to Salopian Shreds and Patches (vol. iv., 
pp. 35, SI, and 67). 

A Salopian Recluse.— In a legend of quite the close 
of the thirteenth century, mention is made of a Salopian 
recluse, who had an ankerhold near a " basilica" dedicated 
to S. John Baptist, about six miles from Shrewsbury. It 
is difficult to identify this church, for the term " basilica" 
was applied to an unconsecrated church by John de Athon 
{Lyndw, 102), as it had been by the Legate Otho in 1237 
{jbidy 5), to a *' great church" previous to its dedication ; 
the term "ecclesia", however, also is used, but it may 
distinguish the nave from the " choir". Again, there was 
no church of this description, which, like the term " choir", 
implies a cathedral or conventual minster, within this dis- 
tance, except Haughmond, and that bore the title of S. John 
Evangelist, although the author, living in remote Cumber- 
land, may have confounded the saints' names, which is not 
very probable. Two travelling Franciscans are mentioned 
in the narrative, and their nearest houses were at 
Bridgnorth, Stafford, and Lichfield, and it is possible that 
they were on their way to the adjoining county. My only 
alternative is to find the locality at S. John the Baptist's, 
Preen, a Cluniac cell of Wenlock, which is somewhat less 

1 38 Appendix D. 

than ten miles from Shrewsbury, and lies in the direction 
of Bridgnorth; and I incline, for several reasons, to place it 
here. It is only necessary to premise that anchoresses 
would not be found in connection with a large conventual 
house like Haughmond, and might reasonably be looked 
for in the vicinity of a monastic cell, as we find them also 
living close to a parish church. In this case the anchoress 
had an oratory with an altar, a waiting-servant (ancilla)f 
and several handmaidens (puellae), who occupied an outer 
chamber. The little chapel adjoined the church, and com- 
manded a view of its altar. There was also a guest-house 
for travellers. The English Canon Law forbade the 
appointment of recluses without the special license of the 
bishop of the diocese, after due consideration of the 
character of the place, the condition of the persons, and 
their competency of livelihood. He was to take into his 
consideration whether the place was near a church, or in 
a neighbourhood which could supply necessaries of life, or 
close to a conventual house where the inmates could be fed 
from the almonry. The anchorite might have private 
means, or be a member of the Order of Mendicants (Fran- 
ciscans) {Lyndw^ lib. iii, tit 21, p. 114). According to 
Bishop Poore's Ancien RewU, the chamber had three 
windows, one opening into the church ; a parlour window 
for communication with visitors or guests closed by a 
black veil and shutter, and a house window used by the 
servant. Several of these ankerholds still exist, but it is 
not within the space at my command to enumerate 
them. I have merely made these preliminary observa- 
tions to explain such portions of the legend as it will 


Appendix D. 139 

interest general readers to have reproduced \Chron, de 
Lanerc,, 183]. "In the county of Sropesbiry, six miles 
from the town, lived a pious old woman named Emma, 
who was wont to receive holy visitations. It fell 
upon S. Francis-day (July 16), a saint whom she much 
affected, both for his own merits and for his habit 
which she wore, that she woke at midnight when friars 
sing their lauds. On the eve (July 1 5) she had received in 
her guest-chamber two friars of the order ; wherefore, 
bethinking herself that she was bound to arise in honour 
of the feast whereon she had been made a recluse, she ' 
called her serving-maid and bade her bring a light for 
matin lauds. Twice it was set on the altar of her oratory, 
twice it was immediately blown out, so that the wick was 
not warm. The Patron of the church was the Precursor 
of Christ, to whom this recluse bore special love. Whilst 
she wondered that the light was thus quenched, she 
beheld a heavenly ray coming through the oratory window 
which adjoined the basilica; far above the brightness of 
the sun it kindled the faces of the handmaidens who lay in 
a further chamber." Then follows a vision of saints who 
ministered at the altar in the choir, and the calling of the 
two friars who, from third cock-crow to dawn of day, saw 
the whole area of the church [ecdesial bathed in celestial 
light, which one of the twain, looking through the church 
window, saw burning like a taper before the image of the 
Baptist. Now, if any of your readers would carefully . 
examine the walls of Preen Church, and observe whether 
there are traces of the ankerhold, on either of the sides 
of the chancel, or an image bracket at the end of the 

1 40 Appendix D. 

nave, the result, if successful, would be interesting to 
archaeologists, and afford another proof how documentary 
and architectural evidences combine for natural illus- 

Mackenzie E. C. Walcott. 

April 2%tky 18&0. 

The Salopian Recluse : Church Preen.— A friend 

has kindly informed me that the Church of Preen is built 
on the south side into the modem mansion, which has 
replaced the older building. At the west end there is a 
low side window beneath a lancet. This bears out my 
suggestion that it was the scene of the curious I^end 
which I narrated. 

Mackenzie E. C. Walcott. 

June i6tAj i88a 

Preen Church.— I have the permission of Mr. Arthur 
Sparrow, of Preen Manor, to publish the/ollowing interest- 
ing letter which I recently received from him. 

Mackenzie E. C. Walcott. 

Jufy 2%tk, 18&X 

*' The church was restored some 14 years ago, and part 
of the west end was rebuilt ; but it has been a faithful 
restoration, and indeed the greater part of the church is 
as it was when it formed the chapel of the monks of the 
Cell of Wenlock. It is on the north (not south) side of 
my house, which was built upon the line of the foundations 
of the old monastery. A doorway still exists in the 
church, which evidently was the monks' entrance from 

Appendix D. 141 

the monastery. The proportions of the church are 
unique — seventy feet long by twelve feet eight inches wide. 
In the old times, I suspect, the church was divided by a 
Rood-screen, the east end occupied by the monks, and the 
west by the cultivators of the land living upon the estate 
There is in the north wall, just on the ecist side of where 
the screen probably stood, what I have always looked upon 
as a leper window ; it is a small square window beneath a 
lancet, and the marks of the hinges of the casement still 
exist. At the east end of the church, on either side'of the 
east window, there is a bracket, evidently used for images. I 
cannot find any traces of the ankerhold on the north side of 
the chancel ; but it may have very well existed, and all 
remains been obliterated. The churchyard is very much of 
higher level than formerly. On the south side of the 
chancel it could not have existed, as the buildings of the 
Cell joined the church. You will see from what I have 
said that there are even greater architectural evidences for 
identifying Preen with the legend than your letter of the 
i6th June stated". 


Pedigree of Hanburv, copied and to a small extent 
revised, from a copy of the Toddington pedfgree (Lord 
Sudeley's), though in the latter there are many omissions, 
including that of the name of Robert Hanbury, of Wolver- 
hampton, bom 1550. Such omissions I have endeavoured 
to supply, as far as possible, from the Public Records. 

Arms: — Or, a bend engrailed veri, plain cottised saMe. 

Crest : — On a wreath of the colours {or and vert) a mural 
crown sable, and issuant therefrom a demi-lion or, holding 
a battle-axe of the last, helved of the first 

Hanbruachof HANBURiE,in the county of Worcester, 
in the time of Edward the Confessor, had a son, Urso of 
Hanburie, living in 1066, who was father of Ralph (or 
Radulphus) de Hanburie. The latter's son, Roger de 
Hanburie, was great-great-grandfather of Geoffrey de 
Hanburigh, or Hanbury, of the time of Henry HI, who was 
father of another Geoffrey de Hanbury, who had a son — 

Henry de Hanbury, who held lands *at Dovebrigge, 
in Derbyshire. He was imprisoned for participating with 
the Earls of Lancaster, Warwick, and Hereford against the 
King, but obtained his release through the efforts of his 
uncle, John de Hanburie, and received a full pardoit in 
1318. On July 13th, 1336, King Edward HI appointed 
him Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland. 

Appendix E. 143 

To a deed dated 26 Edward III this Henry de Hanbury 
affixed his seal bearing the same arms {a bend engrailed 
Plain cottised) as are still used by the family. 

The Lord Chief Justice was father of 

Reginald de Hanbury, M.P.'for Worcestershire 
27 Edward HI, who had a son — 

Roger de Hanbury, M.P. for Worcestershire, 6 
Richard H, who had a son — 

John de Hanbury, temp. Henry IV, who through his 
third son, Richard,^ was grandfather of 

Richard^ Hanbury, who by Catherine Smythe, his 
first wife, had issue — 

Richard Hanbury, of Elmley Lovett, Worcestershire, 
who married the daughter of John Bassett, of North 
Luffenham, Rutland (by Anne his wife, daughter of Thomas 
Rouse, of Overton, Worcestershire), and became father of — 

John Hanbury, of Elmley Lovett, who, having been 
twice married, was buried at that place April 13th, 1559, 
His second wife, Elizabeth Bradley, survived him, and was 
also buried there March isth, 1578. They had a son — 

Robert Hanbury, of Wolverhampton, baptized at 
Elmley Lovett, September 26th, 1550, who was buried at 
Wolverhampton in 1601. His son, 

John Hanbury, of Wolverhampton, was also buried 
there, leaving by Dorothy his wife, sister of Edward 
Rabye, a son — 

Robert Hanbury, of Wolverhampton, who died 
April 8th, 1651, having had issue by his first wife, Lettice 

1 These two Richards are given by Burke^ but there is only one in 
the Toddington pedigree. 

144 Appendix E. 

(who was buried at Wolverhampton Jan. 22nd, 1639), 
daughter of Francis Fellows of The Wei^e, a fourth son, 

Francis Hanbury, of Wolverhampton, and Norton 
Hall, Staffordshire, baptized at Wolverhampton, Oct. ist, 
1637, and buried at Norton, Feb. 26th, 1703. By Elizabeth 
his wife, to whom he was married before 1665, he had 
a son — 

Robert Hanbury, of Norton Hall, who was baptized 
at Norton, Sept 9th, 1675 ; married at the Abbey Church, 
Shrewsbury, April ist, 1704, to Frances Moseley, of Walsall, 
Staffordshire ; sold his estate in 1727 ; buried at Norton, 
May 8th, 1740, leaving a son — 

Robert Hanbury, who by Anne his wife had a son — 

Thomas Hanbury, of Birmingham, who was buried at 
Norton, Feb. loth, 1773 ; having married at St Philip's, 
Birmingham, Dec. 25th, 1760, Mary, dau. of Joseph Dalton 
(who was buried at St. Philip's, Birmingham, Nov. 7th, 
1787), and leaving issue a daughter — 

Mary, baptized at St Philip's Church, March 9th, 1765 ; 
married (as his first wife), WILLIAM SPARROW (see p. 61).